ND student who shot himself expected to recover

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal

FAIRMOUNT, N.D. (AP) — A high school student who shot himself in an apparent suicide attempt in a southeastern North Dakota classroom is expected to recover but will need some support, officials said.

Authorities are not identifying the freshman boy who shot himself in front of classmates at the K-12 Fairmount school Thursday morning. The Breckenridge, Minn., hospital where the boy was being treated declined to release details on his condition.

The student never lost consciousness and is expected to recover, Richland County Sheriff Larry Leshovsky said at a news conference Thursday.

"He's going to have a lot of counseling," said Ron Stahlecker, the school superintendent.

The boy didn't threaten anyone else but the sheriff's office was putting a deputy on patrol to help the 112 students to feel safe as classes resumed Friday. The school was bringing in extra counselors.

Principal Jay Townsend told The Associated Press that Fairmount is a typical small-town school, with no security measures such as metal detectors. School administrators said they use anti-bullying policies and text-a-tip programs to curb social friction among students that can turn disagreements into crises.

"We're just trying to make sure that people are conscious of what they can do to make the school a safe place," West Fargo Superintendent David Flowers told The Forum.

Flowers was an administrator at a high school in Junction City, Kan., in 1993 when a student brought a gun to school and fired it during a confrontation, seriously injuring a bystander.

"It can happen anywhere, and it's more likely to happen when we let our guard down and don't try to provide support for our students," he said.

Investigators are still working to determine why the Fairmount boy turned a gun on himself, and where he got the weapon.

"So many times the students keep things inside of them, and you just don't know," Stahlecker said.