Marysville Students Return to School After Deadly Shooting



Tammy Weaver of Marysville was asked to bring her service dog, Gracie, to help comfort students returning to MP high
Tammy Weaver of Marysville was asked to bring her service dog, Gracie, to help comfort students returning to MP high


Hundreds of people cheering, holding candles and flashing heart signs lined the road leading to a shooting-scarred Washington state high school Monday morning, delivering an uplifting welcome to students searching for normalcy.

The buses rolled up to Marysville Pilchuck High School 10 days after freshman Jaylen Fryberg invited friends to sit with him at lunch and then shot five of them — mortally wounding three — before committing suicide.

Three hundred to 400 alumni and 50 to 80 police officers greeted the students in the gymnasium as they came off buses, said Rob Lowry, the school’s co-principal. “The first thing they noticed was there were lines of first responders there,” Lowry said — a decision intended to send a message of security and safety.

And it wasn’t just the students who came together. Residents flocked to the school with signs that read, “We stand with you,” and chanted “Tomahawk!” — the school’s athletic nickname. A U.S. flag was hung over the road from a fire truck, and parents and alumni decorated the outside school walls with signs of welcome.

After days of tearful gatherings and vigils, many students on buses wore smiles as they watched supporters make heart signs with their hands. Some of the teens flashed the same sign back.

“Today was a good day in Marysville,” said Becky Berg, superintendent of the Marysville schools, who said she was “thrilled” that as many as 90 percent of students chose to return to campus Monday. “It’s always a good day when our kids are together.”

There were no classes. Instead, students attended an assembly and then milled around.

“It was a wonderful way to come back to school,” said Miles Holden, 15, a sophomore. “It helped to be in a room full of people who are going through the same thing as you.”

The cafeteria was closed, its eventual fate up to the school district.

“It was eerie looking at the cafeteria but good to come together,” Miles said.

At the end of the day, some of the students stopped to look at a fence that has been turned into a memorial for the victims: Shaylee ChuckulnaskitZoe Galasso and Gia Soriano, the 14-year-olds who were killed, and Nate Hatch, 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15, who remain hospitalized.

“The hardest thing was to see the fence. It just reminds you that everyone was happy at one point and how many people are struggling,” said Michael Strope, 17, a junior. “It was intimidating to come back. Today was about readjusting. I am not completely better, but it started the healing process. “

 Police still haven’t revealed what motivated Fryberg to ambush the teens, two of whom were his cousins. The shooter was popular and had recently been voted the school’s “homecoming prince,” and many students were friends with both him and the victims. Fryberg was a member of the Tulalip Tribes, which said it had been targeted by threats that had some kids fearful to return to school.

Keith Red Elk, whose daughter Jessica is a senior, said he hoped the turnout would help the kids face their fears. “We are here to show them it is OK to come back,” he said.

Deborah Parker, a member of the tribal council whose son is a senior at the school, said: “I drove my son to school, and he seemed to be a little bit nervous, but we worked hard as a family to watch over him.

“Those were his friends. Those were his relatives,” Parker said. “So coming back to school today was a slow-moving process. Once we drove up and saw all of the cheers, it became emotional.”

Afterward, representatives of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut — where a gunman killed 20 pupils and six staff members in 2012 — passed on to the school district and to the Tulalip Tribes a Native American dreamcatcher plaque that it received from Columbine High School, the scene of a similar massacre in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999.

IMAGE: Dreamcatcher plaque presented to Marysville School District
Representativs from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, passed on a memorial Native American dreamcatcher plaque to the Marysville School District on Monday.


Stephanie Hope Smith, a member of the Newtown Rotary Club, said the plaque “is more than just a dreamcatcher. It is made of love, compassion and hope.”

“It is our hope that you should never have to pass it on,” Smith said.

M. Alex Johnson of NBC News contributed to this report.

Marysville families prepare for classes to resume

(Photo: KING)
(Photo: KING)


Natalie Swaby, KING 5 News

MARYSVILLE, Wash, – As parents arrived at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Tuesday, they shared hugs and their heartache.

Paula Dalcour was one of the hundreds of parents who attended a Tuesday night meeting.

“This is the third city I have lived in where there was a school shooting,” said Dalcour.

The shooting that happened on campus Friday proved painful for Dalcour’s 10th grader.

“My son went to middle school with some of the kids so it is difficult for him,” she said.

Jaylen Fryberg is accused of shooting five classmates and killing two of them before taking his own life. The 15-year-old was a member of the Tulalip tribe.

Tulalip tribe Chairman Herman Williams Sr. admitted it has been difficult to talk about what happened.

“I’m really traumatized by this. I backed away and had my Vice Chairman speak for me,” said Williams. “Now I have to get out and really carry out my duties.”

Williams said he plans to reach out to the families with a connection to the tragedy.

Police are pressing on with their investigation.

“I truly never have been more proud or more heartbroken than this past Friday,” said Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith.

Chief Smith said 125 law enforcement professionals arrived at the shooting scene within minutes.

There were two standing ovations during the meeting, one for first responders and one for teachers.

Parents were able to ask questions and were given a list of tips on how to talk with their kids.

Classes are scheduled to resume at Marysville Pilchuck High on Monday. Superintendent, Dr. Becky Berg, said it will not be business as usual. The school is still examining how to approach the difficult day, but a decision was made to close the cafeteria where the shooting happened.

Tribes Optimistic About Returning Salmon To Upper Columbia Basin

File photo. An aerial view of Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River, the border between Oregon and Idaho.Credit MrPanyGoff / Wikimedia
File photo. An aerial view of Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River, the border between Oregon and Idaho.
Credit MrPanyGoff / Wikimedia


By Tom Banse, Thursday April 24, 2014, NW News Network

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades.

Tribal leaders from across the region gathered for the past two days in Portland to strategize how to return salmon to their full historic range.

The meeting ended Thursday on an optimistic note.

Northwest American tribes and Canadian First Nations presented a united front to restore salmon above Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River and to southern Idaho via the Snake River.

Shoshone-Bannock tribal chairman Nathan Small says on this he’s long felt like he was beating his head on a wall.

“Now I feel maybe my head is going to raise a little bit because there is that possibility to be talked about.”

Tribes and other fish advocates see opportunity to gain traction in two forums. One is the federal relicensing of Idaho Power’s Hells Canyon Project dams. The other is the pending renegotiation of the 50-year-old Columbia River Treaty between the U.S. and Canada.

But stumbling blocks remain. Those include ratepayer objections to the cost of getting salmon around very tall dams and degraded spawning habitat upstream.