A 15-year-old student was stabbed to death by a classmate inside Harding High School Friday morning, according to St. Paul police.
Sgt. Mike Ernster said officers were called to the school around 11:45 a.m. on a report of a stabbing. They arrived to find school staff rendering aid to a juvenile with stab wounds.
The victim was transported to Regions Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Officers located a 16-year-old suspect, also a student, and took him into custody.
This is the first homicide of 2023 in St. Paul.
Police said they don’t have any information yet on a possible motive.
The district said students were dismissed early and all evening and weekend activities at the school are canceled.
Mark Ross, president of the St. Paul Police Federation, said the district removed officers from the schools following George Floyd’s death. Police are now only hired for football and basketball games and other events.
“Our officers were against it,” Ross said. According to Ross, every high school used to have a full-time school resource officer and there were two others who floated between the middle and elementary schools.
“They want us to be a part of the community, they want us to recruit a more diverse group to be police officers, but they won’t even let us into the schools. It’s ridiculous,” said Ross, who worked as a school resource officer from 2010-2014.
“It was only a matter of time. This was not a matter of if but when,” he said. “There is so much violence in schools everyone knew it was a matter of time.”
Shots were fired outside the Washington Technology Magnet School last month during a fight between a group of teens, according to KARE 11. A staff member was grazed by a bullet.
“It’s terrible. My heart goes out to the family and staff working in that environment,” Ross said. “Everybody loses without us in schools. That’s the reality of it.”
As a school resource officer, Ross said he would develop relationships with the most challenging students.
“You have to. You can’t walk around in conflict. That wouldn’t work,” he said.
Police were replaced by school and community support liaisons, according to the Pioneer Press. Just two weeks ago, a liaison working at Harding said “someone is going to be killed” because of the number of weapons that were being brought into the school, a district source told Alpha News.