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Sun, Feb. 23

Authorities investigating shooting death of PHS student

Three weeks after the first day of school, the Prescott High School community was in mourning over the shooting death of a male student this past weekend.

The circumstances leading up to the tragedy are under investigation by the Prescott Police Department. The identity was not publicly revealed to protect the family’s privacy.

Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Joe Howard confirmed the high school junior’s death on Monday, and said high school administrators were making the rounds to inform faculty and students who attended class with the boy of the loss. As of early afternoon, Howard said a determination on results of the police investigation have yet to be determined.

“It’s a tough day here at Prescott High School,” Howard said.

He did praise the administrative staff for handling the sensitive situation with great care and compassion, noting the sad reality is these tragedies do occur and it always strikes to the very heart of the school community.

“This staff is amazing. They are like a family,” Howard said of the immediate response that ensured counseling opportunities to everyone involved, including the presence of therapy dogs on the campus. “They are here to support our students and our families.”

The faculty were informed early Monday morning although Howard admitted there was not much they were able to tell as the police are still conducting interviews and ascertaining the facts. What teachers were equipped to do was offer support to the students’ peers and make counseling referrals to anyone who might be in need of such services, be those in the school or the community, Howard said.

“We’re in that tough spot right now. I sat by a brand new faculty member and said, ‘This is not what we signed up for,’” Howard said of the sentiment of faculty and administration alike. “I can tell you from a personal standpoint that this is the toughest part of this job. We get into this because we love kids, so to lose one is the hardest thing that happens to us.”

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