SANTA CLARITA (CNS) - Saugus High School students return to classes today, about 2 1/2 weeks after a 16-year-old student shot five classmates, killing two of them, before fatally wounding himself with a shot to the head.
``School staff will be busy supporting grieving students and trying to restore as much normalcy as possible during this difficult time,'' the William S. Hart Union High School District said on its website. ``For the first week back, we will limit access to campus to students, staff, and parents who need to contact the office. We ask that all offers of services and other donations, media questions, and non-urgent school related issues be directed to the district office in order to allow staff to focus on educating and supporting students.''
Saugus High School staff will be waiting at the gates to welcome students to the campus, school officials said. The only entry points will be the main office gate, the D building gate and the gate located near the bike racks.
Students at other campuses in the William S. Hart Union High School District, who have already resumed classes, will also have fewer ways to get onto campuses starting Monday, officials said.
In addition, mental health and support providers will be on the Saugus High campus Monday and for as long as needed for the rest of the year, district officials said.
A sheriff's deputy will be posted at sites throughout the school district with additional law enforcement presence around each campus, officials said. Campus supervisors and district office administrators will also be posted at schools to address the needs of students and families.
Saugus High students will be on a Minimum Day schedule Monday and Tuesday, with shorter class times leading to dismissal at 12:21 p.m.
``On behalf of the Saugus family, we want to thank everyone for the countless acts of kindness and compassion that have been extended by friends, neighbors, local churches, community groups, local, state and national leaders,'' Deputy Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said. ``Let us take courage in knowing that we are stronger as we stand together to face this crisis.''
Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, 16 and a junior at Saugus High, began the shooting shortly before 7:40 a.m. November 14, the day of his 16th birthday, killing two classmates and wounding three before turning the gun on himself. The community has since mourned the deaths of Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14. Berhow died at a hospital the next day.
A week after the shooting, Sheriff Alex Villanueva revealed the gun used in the attack was a ``ghost gun,'' assembled from parts and untraceable because it had no serial number.