RICHMOND, Ind. — Dennis Intermediate School students returned to the Richmond Community Schools campus for the first time since a school shooting last week.
Brandon Clegg, 14, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he shot his way into Dennis Thursday and exchanged gunfire with officers.
Dennis students reported to Richmond High School Wednesday morning for their last day before winter break.
They won’t return to Dennis until classes resume in January.
“I think it’s a good decision to keep the kids out of the building for a little while longer,” said Shelle Emmons, whose daughter goes to Dennis.
Initially, students were scheduled to go back to school Tuesday, but the district decided for them to stay home.
To help make Dennis students feel welcome at the high school, the district asked the public drop off any signs or posters that could be hung up in the gym for the students’ arrival.
High school students are also reportedly welcoming the Dennis students and trying to make them feel comfortable at school.
“It’s great to have the support of the high school students,” said Emmons. “All the schools were on lockdown, so I think all of the students can easily put themselves in our students’ shoes and know what they feel.”
While Emmons said her daughter has been doing well since the shooting, things were “tough” when it first happened.
Dennis students and staff were welcomed to RHS Tiernan Ctr with therapy dogs and welcome back cards from schools/businesses. #WeRDennisStrong pic.twitter.com/PdhdAHuFZO— WeRrichmond (@wearrrichmond) December 19, 2018
“She told me she that she thought she was going to die,” Emmons said. “...She said they were hiding under their desks and had sharpened pens and pencils to make weapons and had scissors. They were prepared to fight.”
Emmons said that she and her daughter didn’t know Clegg or his mother, who called a tip in to police about a possible violent act at Dennis.
The tip resulted in the district being locked down with police on the scene as Clegg arrived.
Law enforcement has credited Clegg’s mother with preventing a mass school shooting.
“I think as parents we’re all very grateful,” Emmons said. “She made a huge sacrifice to save our kids’ lives.”
The district has counseling sessions scheduled for Wednesday, among some end of the semester activities like skating and watching a movie.
Emmons said her daughter wanted to be at school and with friends today, but they’ve also been talking about what it’s going to feel like to be back at Dennis and in that same classroom.
“What she told me was that she’s fine,” Emmons said. “She said that their teacher would have protected them, so she feels safe because of her teacher. So I’m feeling very thankful.”
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