About 50 people came out to voice their concerns over a new student to the Saint Paul Public School Board Tuesday. The fourth grader is charged in the shooting death of his 4-year-old brother in Hastings on April 18. The child is staying with relatives in the Saint Paul district. Parents told the board that they were concerned for the safety of their children. They asked if the school was “equipped to handle a tragedy.” Others are worried that the new student will be a victim of the school’s bullying problem. “I’m worried what the kids are going to do to him to be quite honest. I just think they’re going to eat him apart,” said parent Lacey Lange. School administrators said they can’t say much about a specific student. Because it is public record, elementary principal Sara Paider told the crowd that the district has been in contact with the student’s case worker, attorney and therapy workers.
Board members told the crowd that, as a public school, they have no say over who they educate. If someone lives in the district, the school must let them attend classes.
Paider said students that need close monitoring can be assigned a one-on-one para, but wouldn’t say if this student will be monitored. An affidavit for a custody hearing revealed that complaints were made about the 9-year-old making threats at his old school in Hastings. St. Paul administrators said they have been working for months to prepare for that type of situation. “We have taken precautions, lots of precautions to ensure the safety of not only this student, but all students,” said Paider. “Students’ safety is a number one priority here at our school and we would do nothing to jeopardize that for any student here.” But, parents were most concerned about what to tell their kids. “What are we supposed to tell our children when they come home tomorrow from their first day of school and say we’re going to a school with a child who killed his brother? How are we supposed to appropriately answer that because I honestly never thought I’d have to deal with something like that,” said Lange. Paider said parents will be allowed to come with students on the first day of school Wednesday. Counselors will also be available for anxious students.