Freeman High School shooting: one year later
ROCKFORD, Wash. — Things have reached a new normal at Freeman High School, but what happened on Sept. 13, 2017 will never be forgotten.
A student walked into school that morning and opened fire on his classmates. 15-year-old Sam Strahan was shot and killed when he confronted the boy with the gun.
Three teenage girls were also shot. They were rushed to Sacred Heart Medical Center, where they stayed for several days as they recovered.
In the days, weeks, and months after the shooting, the community rallied together, bonded by their new motto: Freeman Strong.
It’s a phrase that’s come to symbolize the resilience and strength shown by members of the Freeman community following an unthinkable tragedy.
As we mark the anniversary, experts say traumatic memories are likely to resurface for many. Sean Hendrickson, a therapist who worked with students and staff in the days after the shooting, emphasizes that everyone heals differently.
“If your kiddos didn’t want to talk about it then, it is okay to talk about it now. The grieving process takes time,” he said. “Allow them time and space to come to you and ask questions. Some kids may not want to talk about it, but let them know you are there if they need to.”
It’s important for students to know that even after time has passed, it’s okay to still be in the healing process. The best thing parents can do is reassure their kids that they’re not alone.
“Encourage people to talk to people, and know that you aren’t alone, you aren’t going through this by yourself,” Hendrickson said.
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