‘Being There Just Felt Sad’: Saugus High Students Return to Campus Days After Shooting

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Saugus High School in Santa Clarita reopened Tuesday to students who wished to pick up their belongings days after a shooting that left three of their classmates dead.

On Monday night, a 15-year-old girl wounded in the Nov. 14 shooting was discharged from the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Pat Aidem said. Her doctor previously said that a bullet hit her in the lower abdomen and traveled to her hip.

She was the last victim who had remained hospitalized.

The two other students who were injured went home last week: a 14-year-old boy who was released the day of the shooting and a 14-year-old girl the next day.

Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14, did not survive when the shooter, identified by authorities as 16-year-old Nathaniel Berhow, opened fire in the school’s quad area. Berhow turned the gun on himself and later succumbed to his injuries, according to officials.

Teachers were allowed back to the campus on Monday.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than on that campus tomorrow to welcome my students back, to give them a hug and to comfort and support them any way,” English teacher Melody Pellegrin told KTLA.

On Tuesday, school administrators said they wanted things to feel as normal as possible.  The campus was scheduled to open 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. so that the students can retrieve their possessions before classes resume on Dec. 2, school officials said.

Mike Kuhlman, deputy superintendent at the William S. Hart Union High School District, said the school planned some art activities for students. Counselors and therapy dogs were also available.

“We really want to provide a venue for kids to get together,” Kuhlman said. “We’re realizing there’s a need for community in this situation.”

The student council met Tuesday morning to discuss how to best use the resources it has received from various fundraising campaigns and other students and community members who just wanted to help out, senior Tyler Nilson told KTLA.

Tyler said returning to the campus felt surreal.

“It is scary to walk back in the quad and realize that just a few days ago, it was a place of fear for students,” he said. “It certainly will be a place of fear for years to come. But our job as Centurions is to come back from that and to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to help one another and gather to continue to be Saugus strong.”

Stepdad Blake Pocquet was at the school with his son, Ryan.

“Just coming back to this horrific event. … There was no way that we weren’t going to be here,” the father said.

Ryan said, “Being there just felt sad.”

He recalled the pieces of paper strewn across the campus the day of the incident, taking note of how the school had been cleaned up.

He said he planned to take part in the activities administrators set up for the students.

When asked how he feels about classes resuming, Ryan said, “I’ll be ready.”

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of student Ryan’s father.

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