Student praised for insightful, passionate response to knife attack outside school


A knife attack outside a school is a cause for alarm for any student, but a 16-year-old has won praise for her sensitive, passionate response to such an incident in New Hope.

Three people – including two juveniles – were taken into custody after another juvenile was injured with a knife in a fight on the sidewalk outside Robbinsdale Cooper High School at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, New Hope Police told BringMeTheNews.

But after news of the fight emerged, Cooper High student Hannah Raye Toutge posted in a private Facebook group a plea to her fellow students, local parents and the wider community not to let the incident cloud their view of the school, saying:

Toutge also claims the people involved in the attack weren't Cooper students, but that it did involve those who go to a nearby school who "chose to carry out their acts of violence on our school property."

We have chosen not to name this school, because New Hope Police Captain Scott Slawson said investigators are still trying to ascertain where the juveniles involved are enrolled, though a Robbinsdale school district spokesperson did tell WCCO the victim wasn't a student at Cooper High.

The plea from Toutge, a junior, was met with overwhelming praise from others in the Facebook group, which includes teachers and parents.

One response said: "Spoken like a true leader! Sometimes adults forget that young people can make a difference ... keep fighting the good fight Hannah – your teachers, classmates, and most of all parents must be beaming with joy at how amazing you are."

Another person added: "Your parents should be proud they have raised such a well-spoken young adult. As a new parent of a Cooper class of 2019, I'm happy to know my son attends a school with such a good classmate."

Among those responding to the teenager was a program director at Robbinsdale Area Schools, who suggested Toutge would make "an excellent addition" to the Student Advisory to the Board of Education (SABE) and said she apply to join.

Two of those arrested in connection with the attack have since been released by police, and are likely to be charged once the investigation has been completed. The other person arrested – one of the juveniles – remains in custody.

The attack victim was treated in the hospital for a wound to the arm.

Cooper High Principal Frank Herman sent a message to parents Tuesday, according to KARE 11, saying: "We are committed to a safe learning environment for all of our students," adding that school would resume as normal Wednesday.

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