MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Principals at the Minneapolis high schools sent out a joint message, warning families to be more cautious as violent crime rises in the city.
"Please continue to be vigilant, stay together, and avoid lingering. We love you. We need you," the message stated. "We would be remiss to not publicly declare that a lack of safety planning, especially for & around our children, is of great and urgent concern for us right now. We are asking the entire Minneapolis community to come together to keep our young people safe."
The message was shared on the Facebook pages of North High School, Roosevelt High School and Edison High School Thursday morning, writing that in recent days they are seeing more and more violent incidents directly impacting students, especially when school is letting out. They are encouraging families to take action to make sure their children get home safely.
"Families should remain in discussions around safe measures with your students, ensure that the safest routes home are being followed and even consider inviting your high schooler to be on the phone with you, or another loved one, while in transit," the message stated.
North High Principal Mauri Friestleben said her students are worried, particularly about the spike in carjackings and shootings in Minneapolis. She also worries about the fact that North High no longer has a Minneapolis Police Department student resource officer on campus and she believes that has not helped.
"Especially when school lets out, there are people around our schools that seem like they are following, intimidating our students; or trying to establish some sort of presence around them as if to say they don't have the right to be in these spaces, and North High School belongs to our kids," Friestleben said.
Friestleben contends that this is most definitely not exclusively a "North High" issue, with other principals signing onto the warning, writing that public safety planning around the city's children is definitely lacking.
North High School in Minneapolis (FOX 9)
"The fact that this is happening while we're just trying to do simple things.. just trying to go to the house and come back. It's sickening," North High School student council president Khadija Ba said. "Honestly, it's just really disappointing too just because of that fact that bullets don't have names on them – you know what I'm saying?"
The principals wrote that they'll engage city street teams and volunteers to post around the schools right before, during, and after dismissals every afternoon.
The district has not made any statements on the safety concerns for students, but said it supports the principals' message.
"We support our high school principals and their efforts to keep students safe," Minneapolis Public Schools spokesperson Julia Schultz Brown told FOX 9.