SANTA CLARITA (CNS) — Saugus High School students were allowed back on campus Tuesday, Nov. 19, for the first time since a mass shooting Thursday in which a 16-year-old student shot five classmates, killing two of them, before fatally wounding himself with a shot to the head.
“Students are welcome to come on to campus to retrieve belongings from 10 a.m. (to) noon,” according to a statement from William S. Hart Union High School District Deputy Superintendent Mike Kuhlman posted on the district’s website.
On Wednesday, Nov. 20, and today, Nov. 21, activities were planned for Saugus High students “that involve helping them process, heal and move forward,” according to Kuhlman.
Classes will resume for students Dec. 2, after the Thanksgiving break.
“On behalf of the Saugus family, we want to thank everyone for the countless acts of kindness and compassion that have been extended by friends, neighbors, local churches, community groups, local, state and national leaders,” Kuhlman said. “Let us take courage in knowing that we are stronger as we stand together to face this crisis.”
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors opened its meeting Tuesday with a moment of silence to remember the victims.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger noted that the gunman opened fire for only 16 seconds.
“These 16 seconds brought terror close to home,” Barger said.
But Barger said she was optimistic about the resilience of local residents.
“This community will heal because we are all in this together,” she said. “To our Saugus community, we mourn with you, but more importantly, we stand with you.”
Pastor John Richard of Santa Clarita’s Castaic Community Church — whose daughter attends Saugus High School but was home sick the day of the shooting — led the invocation at the Tuesday meeting and offered prayers for the families of the victims.
“They’re trying to be strong together,” Richard said of the families and community members who attended a Sunday night vigil.
All other 15 schools in the Hart district opened Monday, and counseling was made available to students and staff.
The county board adjourned its meeting in memory of 15-year-old Gracie Anne Muehlberger and 14-year-old Dominic Michael Blackwell, who were killed in the attack.
“She will be missed more than words will ever be able to express. Gracie will never learn to drive a car, go to a formal dance, and will never find a man to fall in love with,” Barger said. “We will always love you, Sweet Pea, which is what her parents called her.”
Barger quoted Dominic’s friend and fellow ROTC member in her remembrance.
He was smart and funny and always ready to help people,” Barger said of the 14-year-old. “He is remembered by those that knew him as a true leader, who had a great laugh … and a caring heart.”