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'This is not who we are at Hopkins': Principal reveals more details about Monday incident

It broke out at the same time a sit-in protest was taking place.
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The principal of Hopkins High School has revealed more details about the incident that prompted a shelter in place Monday.

Students and staff were directed to shelter in place around lunch time, after a fight between four students broke out at the same time other students held a sit-in to highlight inequity in the criminal justice system and the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.

Details remained somewhat scarce that afternoon, but in an email sent to parents around 8:40 p.m., Hopkins High School Principal Crystal Ballard offered more details about the incident, and said the school will "rise to the challenge to do much, much better for our students, families, and staff."

Ballard said the sit-in protest was planned by the student council, and that some participants held signs that included the F-word —something Ballard said "is not appropriate and does not represent our code of conduct."

While staff were "addressing" that issue, four other Hopkins High School students began to fight, "with others egging them on," she explained. The fight broke out during the sit-in but was unrelated, and none of the protest participants were involved (even though some "made poor choices with their signs"), Ballard continued.

She said three staff members were hurt while breaking up the altercation; a glass wall broke, but did not shatter; and police were called. and paramedics were at the scene.

This led to the shelter in place order, with students being dismissed at 2 p.m. The school, which is off for Thanksgiving break starting Wednesday, planned a remote learning day for most students Tuesday. Ballard said school leaders would continue to connect with staff as they work to "pave our path forward beyond tomorrow."

"We want you to have these details as we know rumors are circulating and we want to be as transparent as possible, so we can move forward together from the same place of truth," she wrote.

This is the second fight in as many weeks at Hopkins High School, a fact Ballard acknowledged in her Monday message to parents. On Nov. 18, there was a fight involving 10 students, which Ballard said was instigated by people who do not attend the school. No weapons were involved and Minnetonka police were called in to end the confrontation.

None of the students involved in Monday's fight were participants in last week's incident, Ballard said, before offering a message of hope while simultaneously drawing a line. She wrote:

"This is not who we are at Hopkins. These last 20 months have been traumatic for us all, and we know there are fights at many schools across the state and country. However for us, this trauma has reached a critical breaking point. That said, this cannot happen again. Not for our scholars, staff and our families. ... We want to actualize the hopes and dreams for HHS that staff shared in today’s staff meeting. We want to restore HHS to a healthy community."

The path forward, she said, will involve input Hopkins High School staff, with whom school leaders spoke after Monday's fight. 

"HHS is a special place that we all cherish and love," Ballard wrote. "The unique needs of a few of our scholars are currently testing the fortitude of our culture and systems. It will take all of us to become the high school our scholars need and deserve."

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