Principal Sheryl Ray and her staff had an excruciating task on Monday -- addressing the murder of 4th grader Barway Collins with nearly 500 elementary-age students at Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School.
Some 15 guidance counselors, social workers, and Anoka-Hennepin school administrators were on hand to help the young children deal with the grief and talk about the loss.
BACKSTORY -- Dad arrested in murder of 10-year-old Barway Collins
The goal was to keep the day as normal as possible.
"This has been a tragic event we have been journeying through for three weeks," Ray says. "It's not what we had hoped for. We are saddened. We were always hopeful that he would come back to school."
Barway had attended the Brooklyn Center school since 1st grade. He was well known and well liked.
For the last several weeks, his friends, classmates, and teachers have struggled with his disappearance.
Today, days after Barway's body was found floating in the Mississippi River, his dad, Pierre Collins, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder.
We asked Ray if Barway's dad was an active parent in his son's education.
"You know families are active in many different ways," she replies. "Parent involvement is how you interpret what that is. They've been very supportive of their child education."
The school did sent home a letter to all of its families today addressing Barway's death.
It also contained tips for parents and guardians on how to discuss the awfully difficult subjects of murder and death with their own children.