Florence Unified Provides Support To Students After Teen Deaths

Wagswoofs – The Florence Unified School District is taking proactive measures to provide support and assistance to students, staff, and families who are coping with the tragic loss of three young lives in Pinal County.

According to a statement released on Wednesday, FUSD expressed their condolences and support to the families and friends affected by the heartbreaking incidents. The staff and administrators empathize with the grief, pain, and confusion that these tragedies bring, and they want to assure their unwavering support during this difficult time.

In less than a month, three students from Pinal County have tragically lost their lives. The first victim was Preston Lord, a 16-year-old student from Combs High School. He was attacked on October 28th at a house party in Queen Creek and succumbed to his injuries on October 30th. As of now, no arrests have been made in connection with this case.

In December, a 17-year-old named Anthony Jason Garcia was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the case and was transferred from the Pinal County Youth Justice Center to the Pinal County Jail.

The Queen Creek Police Department and the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office emphasize that there are no links between the Lord and Jenkins cases. Additionally, they clarify that the shooting death of Hailey Stephens, a 17-year-old Casa Grande girl, during a house party on November 26 is unrelated. Casa Grande Police have made arrests of nine adults and juveniles in connection with the shooting.

“In times of deep sorrow, the FUSD community serves as a pillar of strength and empathy,” expressed Chris Knutsen, Superintendent of FUSD. “We must come together, supporting one another with a shared dedication to the well-being of our youth, allowing empathy, understanding, and collective support to shape our future.”

During winter break, FUSD emphasized its commitment to assisting students who may be struggling with the recent acts of violence. Despite the break, the district remains dedicated to offering resources and support to those in need.

“In times of hardship, it is of utmost importance that we unite as a community to offer our support to each other,” the statement emphasizes. “FUSD is more than just an educational institution; it is a family of empathy, strength, and solidarity.”

The district strongly encourages students, staff, and families to utilize the district’s “See Something, Say Something” tip line available on its website or contact the district office during regular operating hours at 520-866-3500. This will connect them with a dedicated staff member who can provide assistance.

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