Community lines streets to welcome Franklin Regional students back to class

Updated:

Loading

EXPORT, Pa. - Exactly one week after a mass stabbing at Franklin Regional High School, students returned to school Wednesday for classes.
 
In a show of support, Murrysville community members lined the streets to the school holding signs and cheering for the students as they made their way to the building, some for the first time since the stabbing left 21 people hurt.
 
“We are a community that attempts to demonstrate Christ’s love to one another, and to our community. That is what we are attempting to show today,” organizer Pastor Curtis Paul said.
 
Karen Ingersoll was among the supporters Wednesday morning. She said her daughter witnessed the attack, and she feels the students just want to move on.
 
“They want normal, a new normal. That’s what they want,” Ingersoll said.     
 
The community has rallied around the teenagers since the tragedy, and hundreds attended a prayer vigil Tuesday night in freezing cold temperatures to show how much they care.
 
The crowd heard prayers and words of encouragement. Heroic stories were told, candles were lit, and the school’s alma mater was sung.
 
The Sending Back to School Rally took place Tuesday night at Leftwich Pavilion at Murrysville Community Park.
 
“I don’t think it will ever be the same, but they always say that out of something bad, there is something good that comes,” Kim Barner said.
 
Earlier Tuesday, some students returned to the high school for an open house. Parents were invited to visit with their children. Counselors and therapy dogs were also on hand to help the students deal with the emotional impact.
 
Many students told Channel 11 News they were looking forward to being reunited with their classmates after a devastating experience, while others said they were nervous to return to the building.
 
“Mentally, I’m still shocked from what happened,” said student Michael Spila, who was stabbed in the back.
 
Police said a fellow classmate, sophomore Alex Hribal, took two knives into the building last week and attacked 21 people.
 
“I was kind of nervous because I was afraid I might start freaking out or something because you don’t know what would happen if you walked in and had flashbacks. And luckily nothing happened,” said Spila.
 
Over the last few days, many of the injured were released from area hospitals. Four victims remain in area hospitals.
 
One of those victims, 17-year-old Jared Boger, has had four surgeries since the attack. Doctors said Boger is off a ventilator and is showing signs of improvement at UPMC Presybterian Hospital.
 
Bogers mother attended the rally on Tuesday night and said the community’s unity has helped.
 
“I never thought I would be in this situation. Ever,” she said.
 
The other three students who remain hospitalized are at Forbes Regional Hospital. Two remain in critical condition, and one victim is in fair condition.
 
Hribal has been charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. He is currently in a juvenile facility, but is being charged as an adult.

Hribal’s preliminary hearing will take place April 30 at the Westmoreland County Courthouse.  Officials met Wednesday to discuss how to accommodate a caravan of local and national media expected to attend.

 


RELATED STORIES:

Affadavit: Franklin Regional stabber apparently behind threats

Teachers return to Franklin Regional HS after mass stabbing; 4 remain in critical

4th surgery goes well for school stabbing victim

Franklin Regional parent: School learned of taunt night before rampage

Franklin Regional High School students to resume classes Wednesday

4 remain hospitalized in school stabbing rampage

Murrysville community members sign banner of support for Franklin Regional HS

Stabbing suspect's mental state is key to the case

Franklin Regional stabbing victim helps make ‘Proud FR’ shirts

WPXI’s 'Franklin Regional Strong' special (CLIPS INSIDE)

Franklin Regional stabbing victim shares emotional story of survival

Police: No known target in school stabbing rampage

FR resource director who tackled stabbing suspect talks about emotional event

Paramedic who saved FR students’ lives: ‘You just have to stay calm’

Franklin Regional pride: Share your #FRStrong photos

4 Franklin Regional stabbing victims continue to recover in hospitals

Obama offers PA principal sympathy after stabbings

Lawyer: Stabbing suspect like 'deer in headlights'

Franklin Regional students find comfort from tragedy in routine, reflection

Chief urges civil online comments after stabbings

School stabbing victim's thought: Will I die?

Heroes emerge during Franklin Regional High School attack

Best friends who saved each others’ lives in Franklin Regional stabbing reunited

Franklin Regional stabbing suspect meets with attorney, parents

Prosecutor: School stabber used kitchen knives

School stabbing victim in ‘extreme critical condition’

Teen stabs 22 at Pittsburgh-area high school

1 Franklin Regional HS student in critical: ‘Knife came within millimeters of heart’

22 stabbed, 2 others hurt in Franklin Regional High School stabbing rampage