Marysville-Pilchuck High students return to school for first time since shooting; cafeteria to remain closed

MARYSVILLE -- On the first day back to school since the deadly Oct. 24 shooting, hundreds of people lined the streets Monday to remind Marysville-Pilchuck High students they are not alone.

“It’s really cool to see everybody waving, to know the community is really there for you,” student Amberly Toscano said.

Once inside, the school day was nothing close to normal.

“There was singing; they gave us flowers,” Toscano said.

Students first gathered for an assembly at 10:30 a.m. Then they were given time -- time to lean on each other, time to heal.

“I think they are doing a good job of easing people in,” student Serena Corbitt said.

The cafeteria where freshman student Jaylen Fryberg opened fire and shot five other students, three of whom died, is now closed. Students ate lunch in the gym on Monday.

“I wouldn’t eat in there, I wouldn’t even if it was open,” Toscano said

“Yesterday they had a meeting specifically for those who were in the cafeteria to come in and talk about it with their parents and a lot of parents are here with their kids,” Corbitt said.

Dozens of alumni, extra counselors and police were on hand as well.

Parents want to keep their kids close but they know they can’t be here for every moment.

“I have to believe in myself, the teachers, the school, that my child is safe,” parent James Sanchez said.

And so far the support is tremendous. People of all ages, students from all over Washington, are sharing in the pain

“You realize it is your home, and it hits you all over again,” Marysville Getchell High School student Savannah Perkins said.

“We have a chance right now to make a change, to go up to that person who is walking alone and ... touch their lives, because we don’t know what’s going on inside their heads," Perkins said.

Up to 90 percent of the students showed up for class Monday, and 100 percent of the staff was there to support them, school officials said.

Administrators are still in the process of reaching out to those students who were inside the cafeteria when the shooting happened to see if they need extra counseling.

The cafeteria will not be used for the rest of the year and most likely be torn down and replaced in the future, officials said.