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Tips for trauma recovery after deadly stabbing at Harding High School

St. Paul Police say a 16-year-old student killed a 15-year-old student on Friday.

ST PAUL, Minn. — On Monday night, a candlelight vigil is planned at Harding High School in St. Paul.

It's being organized after St. Paul Police say a student stabbed another student to death there on Friday.

This kind of stress can be tough to understand and even has longtime therapist Lambers Fisher asking, why?

"The first thing that came to mind is why, why again," asked Fisher. "Why does this have to be a continued experience for so many, especially our youth?"

Fisher says it's important to listen to young people and validate their feelings, so they can be expressed, felt and then processed.

"Instead of saying don't use a gun, don't use a knife, we go one step before that and say, why do you feel that is the only way to solve your problem," explained Fisher. "Then we'll see a reduction in those extreme ways of expressing that."

To try and recover from trauma sooner than later, Fisher recommends three things.

First, don't bottle up your emotions. He says to strengthen the relationships around you to regain a sense of safety.

Second, focus on positive things in the midst of negative things. 

And third, Fisher says to create a space others can comfortably express themselves.

"We can make intentional efforts to help ourselves, and those around us, to have the best mental health and thus overall health possible," said Fisher.

Students at Harding may have recurring trauma given there have also been at least three other documented violent incidents in the last year, including an armed robbery and a student waving a gun in April.

The deadly stabbing on Friday led to an hours-long lockdown and many parents expressing frustration about the increasing number of incidents. Fisher is expressing hope that people can move on from all of it in a healthy way. 

"One relationship at a time, we can help one student at a time feel safer and make better decisions each day," said Fisher. 

The vigil on Monday is outside and is expected to last an hour. You can find more details here. It's being held to support the community and everyone is welcome.

Counselors from the SPPS Crisis Support Team will be available to students and staff on both Monday and Tuesday. Meal pickup will also be available since there are no classes on either Monday or Tuesday. To speak to someone at the school for more information, call (651) 793-4700. 

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