One year later, Freeman is still strong. And vulnerable. Reminders of strength are everywhere, as hashtagged signs hang on houses and barns and the cars and trucks that ply the roads south of Spokane.
Drenched in sunshine and a sharp spring wind, more than 70 students marched Friday out of Freeman High School behind a “Freeman Strong” banner to the same football field where they sheltered in fear last September following the shooting that killed 15-year-old Sam Strahan and injured three girls.
In the minutes, hours and days following a school shooting, those involved struggle to process, heal and understand. And those looking to make a buck pick up the phone, or draft an email.
After the shooting at Freeman High School, assistance began flowing to the school.
Sam Strahan’s memorial service will be held on Saturday and is open to the public, according to a news release from the family. Strahan was shot and killed by a fellow Freeman High School classmate on Sept. 13.
About 40 strangers joined together, Thursday, to handcraft paper flowers for Sam Strahan’s memorial service.
The small town of Rockford plans to honor the victims of the Freeman High School shooting with a moment of silence at this weekend’s Southeast Spokane County Fair. Along with shirts, banners and signs bearing the words “Freeman Strong” in the high school’s signature cornflower blue dotting the fairgrounds, fair organizers said also they’re expecting the fair’s hundreds of patrons to show up in support. Especially during the royalty ceremony, where two Freeman juniors will be crowned princess and queen of the fair.
It was in the middle of the chaos surrounding a school shooting last week that three people saw opportunity rather than heartbreak. While parents sped along traffic-clogged U.S. Highway 27, parked their cars and ran toward Freeman High School – where they had just gotten word a student fired a weapon into a second-story hallway, wounding or killing who knows how many – Renee Mann, Larry Flett and Nicole Jensen lurked behind the scenes and prowled through the long line of unattended vehicles, according to investigators.
The events at Freeman High School last week represent the fundamental challenge of school security: balancing the public nature of schools with safety and security.
Across the Spokane-region students met with school staff to start and try to process last week’s school shooting.