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Student dies after stabbing at Harding High School in St. Paul

Police say a 16-year-old male student stabbed a 15-year-old male student. Both were students at Harding High.

ST PAUL, Minn. — St. Paul police say a 15-year-old student has died after he was stabbed at Harding High School on Friday. A 16-year-old male was taken into custody.

Both were students at Harding High.

Detectives are investigating what led up to the stabbing, said SPPD public information officer Sgt. Mike Ernster during a Friday late afternoon press conference.

He told members of the media that he believes the weapon was a "fixed-blade knife."

Sgt. Ernster also said there was a "rumor of a social media video" of the stabbing but he could not provide any more details.

The school, located on the 500 block of Sixth Street East, went into lockdown at approximately 11:45 a.m.


According to a statement from the district, students were held in their classrooms until the building was cleared. They were released at 1:20 p.m. All evening and weekend activities have been canceled.

KARE 11's Jennifer Hoff says students were allowed to leave the building shortly before 2 p.m. She posted a video of a woman hugging a sobbing student.

Mayor Melvin Carter released a statement on Twitter later Friday evening, saying the "loss of another youth to senseless violence" is "sad and infuriating."  

In a video message posted to the district's YouTube page, St. Paul Superintendent Joe Gothard said classes will be canceled on Monday at Harding High School, and trauma specialists will remain available for students, staff and families through the weekend.

"My plea to our entire community right now is that we are not okay. Our kids are not okay," Gothard said. "As evident by this event, has also been marked by other incidents throughout our city, whether it's in our schools or in our community that tells us that our kids are hurting, our staff are struggling to support them and know what to do. This is a time for us once again to come together, to work together, to make sure that we're supporting everyone in coming through these times of great grief and great tragedy as we move forward together."

Harding High School has been the site of several recent incidents involving guns. In April 2022, a 16-year-old student was charged in juvenile court for allegedly bringing a gun into the building. In that case, officers were able to remove and secure the gun, which police said was reported stolen out of St. Paul.

That same month, parents and students were unnerved by an incident that was recorded in the bathroom and shared on social media. The weapon seen on tape ended up being a BB gun, and police are investigating that incident as an armed robbery.

And in Nov. 2021, a boy in the school was seen showing off a loaded gun.

"There's like four gun incidents and now this stabbing," a mother waiting to pick up her child said outside Harding High School Friday. "And they haven't been doing nothing. It's a shame it had to come to this."

Madison Hand, a junior at Harding, called on the district to reinstate school resource officers, which the school board cut across all high schools in 2020

"I'm walking into that school every day knowing there's a chance my life, and other people's lives, could be on the line," Hand said. "In my opinion, I believe there need to be SROs (school resource officers) and metal detectors. This could have all been stopped and prevented." 

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