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Rumors raise tensions at FHS

A rumored school shooting planned for Friday is nothing more than talk according to Farmington High School principal Ben Kusch.

Word of an planned shooting spread through the halls of FHS early this week, but by Tuesday afternoon, Kusch was confident there was nothing to substantiate any kind of threat that may have been made.

Still, it was a serious matter. So serious that school administrators actively investigated the allegations to make sure there really was no threat to the student body.

"We take safety very, very seriously at the high school," Kusch said. "Student safety and security is our number one priority."

According to Kusch, the problem started last week when two separate fights broke out among four individuals. Administrators dealt with the two fights and the students received school consequences. In his FHS Schoolhouse E-News update, Kusch said the tension increased because "a small number of FHS students" posted concerning messages on Facebook and made inappropriate comments at the school.

"Through ongoing investigation of these students' poorly chosen words and in discussing the incidents with the students and the students' parents, it became readily apparent that there was/is not a threat to the safety of the students or staff at Farmington High School," Kusch wrote in his update.

He would not say whether school liaison officer Steve Kuyper or any other police officers were involved in the investigation, but said law enforcement is sought when necessary. The incidents were first investigated by school administration, Kusch said.

Administrators planned to meet with teachers and staff early Wednesday morning so everyone understood what the situation entailed, and what the solutions are. Then, teachers were asked to share that information with students, so everyone had the same information.

"The best way to fight a rumor is with the truth," Kusch said.

Though the threat of a big-scale event has been cleared, Kusch still asks that any concerned parent and contact him, whether for this instance or any other.

"If what you hear troubles you or just doesn't 'sound right,' please let us/me know," he wrote in his FHS update. "I would similarly ask you to instruct your son or daughter to do the same."

Kusch also wants students to feel confident in coming to administrators or teachers when it comes to uncomfortable issues that may arise in the building. That way, the staff can begin to address those issues, much like they did on Tuesday.

"Learning just isn't going to occur if students aren't feeling safe," Kusch said.

Parents with questions or concerns can contact Kusch by e-mailing or calling, 651-252-2502.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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