FREEMAN, Washington - As students returned to Freeman High School Monday morning, their Freeman family -- made up of staff, first responders, and parents -- were right there with them.
"The day at the high school started with morning prayer, followed by the students walking into the building with their parents, and walking through the front door with staff and parents on both sides," said Freeman School District Superintendent Randy Russell. "It was really a tribute to our students that I don't think I'm ever going to forget."
Parents were invited to attend class and stay with their children as long as they needed.
"Certainly it was a week filled with emotion, but it was just such a positive thing for all of us, the students, the parents, the staff," said Russell.
While today was the first day back, it was also the first day of a 'new normal' -- one without Sam Strahan.
"It's going to be a long time for them to work their way through this," said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. "These things don't go away overnight; it will take awhile."
It's no easy path forward, but on Monday, students proved that Freeman is healing, and Freeman is Strong.
"As usual, they exceeded our expectations," said Russell. "I'm just always impressed with our students--they're amazing and they were amazing today. They displayed such heart, courage, and resilience, and sometimes I don't know if we give students as much credit as we should for how resilient that they are," Russell added.
More than 65 counselors from surrounding districts provided support in class, as well as several therapy dogs. On Tuesday, additional support will be provided to students who witnessed the shooting on the second floor.
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