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Franklin Regional officials laud response to attack

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Nearly three weeks after Franklin Regional was thrust into the national spotlight after a sophomore was accused of stabbing or slashing 20 students and an adult in the high school's hallways, district officials say the school community is healing.

School board President Larry Borland spoke on behalf of the nine-member board during Monday's board meeting evening to express gratitude for the bravery and strength that first-responders, officials, students and faculty showed.

“After such a terrible tragedy, the hidden strengths of individuals have emerged to make all of us stronger,” Borland read from a prepared statement. “Heroic actions abounded. Each of us can close our eyes and see the unforgettable actions of a particular person or persons.”

Superintendent Jamie Piraino, who was hired a year ago this month, said the district and community response to the “horrific acts” illustrates their resolution to be “FR Strong.” He echoed Borland's praise of students, staff and emergency responders.

“The foundations of kindness, compassion, courage and altruism have even more resolve during times of crisis,” Piraino read from a prepared statement. “These acts of heroism are what we must commemorate and use to define our community as ‘FR Strong.'”

Piraino said the district has received an outpouring of support locally and from across the nation.

“The Franklin Regional community has consciously decided to be defined by its kind and compassionate heart, courage and unwavering spirit,” Piraino said. “The strong support has boosted the spirit, resolve and healing of our school community.”

Borland lauded administrators for their efforts.

“I only saw a need to step in and direct the administration on one instance,” Borland said. “On Friday morning, I insisted that the key members of the administration team rotate off campus in order to obtain long overdue rest — both physical and psychological.”

Two students, Greg Keener and Connor Warwick, remained hospitalized in fair condition at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville as of Tuesday.

Police have accused Alex Hribal, 16, of Murrysville, of stabbing or slashing 20 students and a security guard in a premeditated attack. Police filed 17 additional charges attempted homicide against Hribal late last week after evidence indicated he had planned to kill several of his classmates. Four such charges were filed previously.

According to a police affidavit, Hribal told Assistant Principal Sam King, “No, I am not dropping them. My work is not done. I have more people to kill” after King wrestled the teen to the ground and demanded he drop two knives he held.

Police also found a note, dated April 6, signed by Hribal in the teen's locker that said “I can't wait to see the priceless and helpless looks on the faces of the students of one of the ‘best schools in Pennsylvania' realize their precious lives are going to be taken by the only one among them that isn't a plebeian,” according to the affidavit.

Hribal's preliminary hearing is set for May 9. He remains at the Regional Youth Services Center in Hempfield, where he is being held without bond.

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