One week after more than 20 people were injured in a stabbing spree at Franklin Regional High School, students returned to the classroom.
On a chilly spring morning Wednesday, students held a prayer service before school on the football field. Outside of the school, on a road in front of a nearby church, a line of community members stood holding signs with messages such as “FR Strong” and “courage.”
“I’m here to tell the kids that we love them and we’re with them and they’re not alone and we’ll be with them as long as it takes,” said Anne Himelein, a Murrysville resident. Her two children graduated from FRHS in 2008 and 2010.
“It’s been tragic, just tragic in many ways that we’re in such a culture of anger and things, and at the same time, things happen that cause anger, and we just need to be kind to each other," Himelein said. "It’s a reminder of that."
Last Wednesday, just before classes started, authorities say 16-year-old Alex Hribal went on a slashing and stabbing rampage that injured classmates and a school security guard. Hribal has been charged as an adult with attempted homicide and aggravated assault in the incident.
As the students return to school, residents like Wendy Keys also are returning to a sense of normalcy.
“We always joke and call it ‘the bubble,’” she said. “But sometimes we lose sight of those around us and caring for those around us. I think it’s been a coming together, and they always say out of something tragic there is always good that comes from it, and I think there will be good to this community here in our bubble.”
The line of people waved to the students and parents as they drove past. The buses were mostly empty, as many of the students either arrived early for the prayer service or were being dropped off by parents.
“Hang in there guys, we’re with you and you’ll be ok,” Himelein said. “You’ll get through it. It’ll be a long process, but you’ll be ok.”