Education

Classes resume at North Thurston High School

Classes resumed Tuesday at North Thurston High School and most of the school’s 1,447 students returned.

Many teachers, school staff and students wore dark purple — the school’s signature color — as a sign of pride in the school.

Sophomore John Knapp said it didn’t stop people from thinking or talking about Monday’s shooting, in which a 16-year-old student allegedly fired a revolver into the air 5 minutes before classes were scheduled to begin. Nobody was injured in the shooting, which was thwarted when teacher Brady Olson tackled the student.

“There’s a lot of drama about the shooting,” Knapp said. “People are talking about it.”

But about 400 students were marked absent, according to district spokeswoman Courtney Schrieve. The district had given parents the option of excusing students who weren’t up to returning to the scene yet.

Counseling services were available for those who needed it. Teachers and school and district staff gathered in the library for a debriefing before the first bell rang.

“When things get tough, you find out what you’ve got,” Principal Steve Rood said at the meeting. “(The) biggest focus is nobody got hurt.”

Connor Larsen, 16, a junior, said he noticed an increased presence of police at the school. He said he was in the car with his mom Monday when he heard reports about gunfire at the school. He said it shocked him.

“I was just like ‘No way, no way, not at Thurston,’ ” Larsen said. “You hear about it everywhere else.”

Senior Nicole Baroseva, 18, said the only mention of Monday’s event during the morning announcements was a reminder that kids could pick up items they might have left in other classrooms if they wanted to.

But as the day progressed, more adults at the school talked about the shooting, Baroseva said. One of her teachers brought juice and pastries for students and explained some of the school’s safety elements.

“They said that the school is actually pretty safe, and not to worry about (future incidents),” Baroseva said.

Junior Kyron Ketchum, 16, said a lot of students were talking about teacher Brady Olson’s heroic actions.

“He’s a pretty good teacher,” Ketchum said. “He actually cares about the school and everyone at the school. His job does not pay enough to put his life in danger.”

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