Our hearts are broken for the families and friends who suffered unspeakable loss Tuesday. There are no words we can express or actions we can take to remove the pain this has caused in our community.
Our thoughts and prayers are also with our learner who remains hospitalized. Out of respect for the families and the ongoing investigation by law enforcement, we are not releasing those names at this time.
We are working alongside law enforcement's ongoing investigation and will share additional information once their investigation concludes. I ask for your patience and understanding as this investigation unfolds. We value transparency, and we also want to provide accurate information and avoid speculation and unfounded rumors.
A senseless tragedy that we have seen on campuses around the nation struck here at home. What should have been a routine afternoon dismissal Tuesday at St. Helena College and Career Academy, turned into a day that has shaken our close-knit community. But we are strong - we are St. Helena Strong - and as we mourn, we are also taking steps to bring our community together around ensuring the continued safety and well-being of our schools, learners, and employees.
1. Our employees will report to work on Thursday to prepare for our learners and receive grief counseling.
2. Learners will return to school on Friday. A Prayer Service is being arranged at this time for Friday morning. More details will follow. Mental health support will be available to all learners, and we will have additional police presence on our campuses.
3. A balloon release will take place at 6 p.m. in the stadium in lieu of the football game that was canceled.
It is natural for there to be some apprehension among kids, families, and employees. I want to assure you that we work to keep our learners and employees safe every day. For example, thanks to the Stronger Connections grant provided by LDOE, we recently installed a new digital sign-in system that tracks all visitors on our campuses, and we are in the process of upgrading our security camera systems to the latest technology. We utilize the free RAVE Panic Button system that alerts key personnel when unwanted activities occur during the school day. Our classroom teachers have written protocols for various emergency events, and we have drills to prepare our learners for those emergencies.
Our SHCCA staff took immediate action to ensure the safety of everyone on campus and remained on site to assist until late in the evening. I want to publicly extend my sincerest gratitude to them and to everyone who has offered their assistance to our school community.
Please continue to review all social media platforms, text messages, and our district website for the latest news and information.
Superintendent Kelli Joseph