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‘We are heartbroken’: Wake school leaders promise action after student fatally stabbed

The following message was posted on the Wake County Public School System website Monday night in English and in Spanish.

Wake County Public School System families and staff,

Today is a sad day for our school district and our entire community. We are heartbroken to share that the life of one of our students has ended in tragedy.

Shortly after 11 a.m. this morning, during an altercation on the Southeast Raleigh High school campus, two students were stabbed.

One student passed away at the hospital. Another student is currently hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. One is in custody. We are sharing this news with you to acknowledge that our community lost a student today. The student who passed away was a valued member of their school community. They were loved. They will be grieved deeply by their loved ones, and by our entire community.

We are left in the aftermath of today’s events with a commitment to be in service to the students, staff and community at Southeast Raleigh High School as they process the incident and grieve their loss in the coming days. Our commitment includes ensuring that students and families feel safe and supported when the time comes to re-open.

We also end the day with a strong resolve for action. Every parent in this district puts their trust in us when they send their child to school. All acts of violence in our schools are unacceptable.

As we have shared with you in the past, our Board of Education has taken proactive measures to support and enhance our safety measures by authorizing an independent security assessment of every school. This work has been ongoing for several years.

Some of this work you’ve seen, like our visitor management system. Some of this work is unseen — like security infrastructure and technology improvements. The unseen part is intentional, as revealing specific details of security plans can create additional risks. But we want to assure you that our board has approved funding for these critical security improvements, and they will move forward.

There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our staff and students. Please know that we are committed to continuous improvement to school safety.

We will continue to review all our safety processes and protocols to determine what happened and what changes may need to be made.

Please keep the victims and their loved ones in your thoughts, and take care of yourselves and each other.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert Taylor, Superintendent, Wake County Public School System

Lindsay Mahaffey, Chair, Wake County Board of Education

Lindsay Mahaffey
Lindsay Mahaffey