Shooting outside RHS Homecoming Game

Decorative image with colored diamonds on gray background

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022

Dear RPS Community,

Earlier today, the Richfield Police Department announced the arrest of two teenagers in connection with Friday night’s shooting outside the homecoming game, including a current Richfield High School student. Learning that one of the students involved was one of our own makes a terrible situation even more devastating. 

We want to thank the Richfield Police Department for their fast response Friday night and their quick investigation. We also want to thank district staff and community members for their help in identifying the individuals involved. As a community, it is important that we support one another, which includes reporting suspicious activity. One way to report concerns is to contact a school official or the police. In addition, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension recently launched an app called "See it, Say it, Send it," a platform that allows people to send tips to the BCA regarding school safety (read more). 

We also want to address concerns on social media that district staff were aware of threats prior to the homecoming game and did not address them. In the week leading up to the game, several students and one parent came forward with information concerning rumors about a fight that would allegedly take place at homecoming. Our staff thoroughly investigated these allegations prior to the game (which included contacting the athletics administration at Bloomington Kennedy High School and local law enforcement) and the rumors were determined not to be credible. Both reports involved Bloomington Kennedy students possibly instigating a fight, which, as we know, did not occur. This rumor circulates whenever these two teams play, which is why we did not notify the community about the threat.

The added entrance and security measures in place were in response to the anticipated large crowd and the homecoming fight at Edina High School the week before. Our team took every precaution Friday night to ensure student and fan safety inside the stadium, including separate parking, separate entrances, strict admittance protocols, increased staff presence, increased security and a police presence.  

We know students and staff need to feel safe — both in the community and at school. Sometimes, after a traumatic incident, feeling safe is difficult. Staff at all of our buildings will continue to follow all of our safety protocols, including secure building entrances and requiring all staff and visitors to wear ID badges. In addition, the Richfield Police Department will provide regular patrols at all schools and an officer at Richfield High School. In addition, students will see an increased staff presence throughout the middle school and high school next week. 

This week, all schools, including elementary schools, will have counselors and/or social workers available, as well as additional staff support from the district office. We encourage any students who are struggling or who simply want to talk to reach out to one of our student support staff or their classroom teacher. 

As we work together over the coming weeks to process what has occurred, we want to reassure you that we will do everything we can to not only support the social-emotional needs of our students and staff, but also continue to ensure RHS students can experience the events and activities traditionally associated with high school, such as dances, pep fests and athletic events. While we initially canceled all weekend activities because the suspects in this incident were still at large, we may now slowly begin the process of planning future events and possibly rescheduling high school activities from this past weekend. RHS administrators will meet with student government representatives to discuss these options.  

As always, please feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions or concerns. 

Sincerely,

Steven Unowsky, Superintendent
Stacy Theien-Collins, RHS Principal
Christina Haddad Gonzalez, Director of Student Support Services


Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022

Dear Richfield Community,

Last night’s events outside the homecoming game were traumatic for our students, families and community members. Since the incident occurred, police and District staff worked to investigate and identify those involved. We are hopeful the Richfield Police Department will have an update soon.

Our team will be prepared to support students and staff at all schools on Monday. We will work with partner organizations as needed to provide additional support for students or staff who need or want to talk with someone.

When frightening things happen, it is hard to be both an individual impacted by the violence and a caregiver. It can be hard to deal with your own feelings about the incident while also supporting your loved ones. In regards to your children, it may be helpful to share with them directly what happened. This way, you are able to provide factual information, while also setting the emotional tone. As the days progress and your children return to school, please continue to encourage them to ask questions and to talk about how they feel. As you encourage your children to express their feelings, it helps them build healthy coping skills that will serve them well in the future.

Here are a few resources that may assist you in talking with your children:

  • Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers from the National Association of School Psychologists (English | Spanish PDF)
  • Talking to Children About Tragedies & Other News Events from the American Academy of Pediatrics (English | Spanish)
  • Explaining the News to Our Kids from Common Sense Media (English | Spanish)

We will send another message once we know more about the situation from the Richfield Police Department. This message will include specific information about our plans for increased security and support for our schools next week.

Sincerely,

Steven Unowsky, Superintendent
Stacy Theien-Collins, RHS Principal
Christina Haddad Gonzalez, Director of Student Support Services


Friday, Sept. 23, 2022

Message from Superintendent Unowsky

Dear Richfield Community,

Tonight, during our homecoming game, our community experienced an act of violence that left two people injured and has deeply impacted all of us. What we know is that a person (or persons) opened fire outside the homecoming game. Police were immediately on the scene, managing the situation and evacuating people from the area.

Senseless acts of gun violence are all too common in our country and this one was in our own backyard. Violence like this impacts all of us, but especially our students. We will have counselors and social workers on-site this week for any students who were directly or indirectly impacted by these events and need support.

As of right now, this is an active police investigation and we will look to the Richfield Police Department for further updates on the situation.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Steven Unowsky


Message from Principal Theien-Collins

Dear Spartan Families,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you tonight. I am heartbroken by the violence that broke out at the homecoming game, which has deeply impacted our entire community. What was supposed to be a weekend of celebration and school pride is now a time when we must come together in support and solidarity. 

To help ensure student safety and to allow us all a little room to breathe, reflect and heal, we have made the decision to cancel all weekend activities, including boys and girls soccer and the homecoming dance.

We will have counselors and social workers on-site this week for any students who were directly or indirectly impacted by these events or who simply wish to process how they are feeling. 

In Partnership,

Principal Stacy Theien-Collins


Message from Richfield Community Education

Dear Community Education Families,

Tonight, as you may have heard, there was gunfire outside the Richfield High School homecoming game, resulting in two injuries. This is a difficult time for our entire community, which is why the District has made the decision to cancel all weekend activities, including Community Education programs. 

Karate, Swimming Lessons, Nailed it Art Class, Piano lessons, Soccer, and the Explore Aviation Family field trip will all be canceled for Saturday 9/24. We will connect with you early next week about make-up dates and/or refunds.

Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about these programs.

Sincerely,

Amy Skare-Klecker, Director of Community Education
 

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