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Richfield High School in Minnesota cancels homecoming dance to allow students to “breathe, reflect and heal”

<i>RICHFIELD HIGH SCHOOL/WCCO</i><br/>Two people were shot just outside the Richfield High School football stadium on Friday night.
RICHFIELD HIGH SCHOOL/WCCO
RICHFIELD HIGH SCHOOL/WCCO
Two people were shot just outside the Richfield High School football stadium on Friday night.

By MARIELLE MOHS

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    RICHFIELD, Minnesota (WCCO) — Following gunshots injuring two people just outside the Richfield High School football stadium on Friday night, during their homecoming game, the high school principal canceled the remainder of the weekend activities.

Principal Stacy Thein-Collins said in a Facebook post:

“It is with a heavy heart that I write to you tonight. I am heartbroken by the violence that broke out at the homecoming game, which has deeply impacted our entire community. What was supposed to be a weekend of celebration and school pride is now a time when we must come together in support and solidarity.”

“To help ensure student safety and to allow us all a little room to breathe, reflect and heal, we have made the decision to cancel all weekend activities, including boys and girls soccer and the homecoming dance.”

“It just really feels unfair, and it really sucks knowing that 1 or 5 people could ruin something that everybody has been looking forward to,” said Liv Loftsgaarden, a senior at Richfield High School, the class president, and a member of homecoming court.

As class president, it’s Loftsgaarden’s responsibility to plan the homecoming dance. On Saturday morning, she had to go to her high school to clean up everything she had put together for the dance.

“When I went there, I helped take down all the decorations I had put up the night before. It was really hard. It really sucked,” said Loftsgaarden.

Community members also came by the stadium Saturday morning to clean up debris left behind when people left so suddenly after the shooting.

Ally Beckman is a mom to two freshmen and came by the empty stadium to reflect.

“My son’s supposed to be out there right now, playing. Just to see everything empty and locked up, it’s just really sad,” said Beckman, whose son’s soccer game was canceled because of the shooting. “You have all sorts of feelings, like numbness, sadness, scared and mad.”

This is especially difficult for seniors to process, who dealt with two other canceled homecoming dances because of COVID.

“This year we were like, ‘Oh finally! We can experience homecoming one more time as seniors all together. It was kind of like a last hurrah,” said Loftsgaarden.

Despite the violence and trauma that follows, parents and students tell WCCO they stand with their school district.

“This is a really, really great community, and this stuff is happening all over the U.S. for all sorts of reasons, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather have my kids,” said Beckman.

Richfield police have not made any arrests or identified who did the shooting yet.

Counselors will be on-site for students next week when they return to school.

Loftsgaarden told us she and her friends still plan to dress up for the dance on Saturday night to take pictures and make the most of it.

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