Quaker Valley superintendent: 'No community is immune' to violence

Bobby Cherry
| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 2:18 p.m.

In the wake of Wednesday's stabbing at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville that left 19 students and one staff member injured, Quaker Valley School District's superintendent encouraged parents to talk with their children about school violence.

“Today's event serves as a vivid reminder that no community is immune to these incidents,” Superintendent Joseph Clapper said in a letter to parents that was posted on the district website. “Each of us must do everything we can to keep our schools safe.”

A 16-year-old student armed with two knives went from classroom to classroom Wednesday morning, stabbing and slashing 19 students and a security guard in a rampage at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.

Several students were critically injured and are undergoing surgery, said Dan Stevens, Westmoreland County public safety spokesman.

The suspect is in custody and will be questioned by an FBI interview specialist, according to Westmoreland County detectives.

Authorities have not determined a motive, Stevens said.

In his letter to Quaker Valley parents, Clapper said he hoped his letter would “stimulate discussion between parents and their children about responsible behavior in school and the importance of sharing information when you have a concern or your instincts tell you that something's just not right.

“Students who communicate their desire or intention to cause harm to students, teachers or a school building, even in a joking manner, will be taken seriously and will face severe disciplinary consequences,” he said.

“However, our true desire is to intervene well before an incident escalates to this level. Our best work is when we can partner with families and help each other by providing support and assistance to troubled students.”

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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