Update on Support for the East High School Community

Yesterday our community beared witness to a traumatic event at East High School as three teenagers on the edge of campus were shot, including one fatality. The death of a young person is always a tragedy. For it to happen outside of a school is a nightmare for every student, parent and educator.

In short, East High School needs a time for grace and healing. Students witnessed a horrific event. Staff responded to provide support and comfort. A drive-by shooting is not something students and staff should ever have to deal with, but the students and staff at East responded according to their motto: in the service of humanity.

Classes at East High School will be canceled for the remainder of this week. However, and more importantly, the remaining days of this week will be set aside to provide East students and staff with support, and time, to recover.

Before classes resume after next week’s Spring Break, there will be an opportunity for the East High community to gather to discuss yesterday’s events. And further district-wide conversations around school safety will be held in the near future. Details will be announced once plans are confirmed.

In the meantime, the following services will be available through the week for East High School:

There will be no classes at East High School for the remainder of this week. However, on Thursday and Friday, teachers will be on virtual platforms to connect with students. This will not be a required academic time but rather for teachers and students to talk and support each other.

Our District Grief Response counselors will be at East High School for the remainder of this week to support students. We also have art therapy available for students on site at East through our partners at the Des Moines Art Center. East High School is also working with other community partners who will provide services this week; details will be provide to families once plans are confirmed.

In addition, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will be on site at East providing support to groups and individual staff members as requested on Wednesday.

To support the students and families of East High School, the DMPS Food and Nutrition department will be offering grab and go meals at three locations this week. A breakfast and lunch will be provided to each East High School student. Parents are able to pick up meals on behalf of their students. Meals will be available each day between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM at the following locations:

  • River Woods Elementary School parking lot (2929 SE 22nd Street)
  • Hoyt Middle School parking lot (2700 E 42nd Street)
  • East High School cafeteria and parking lot (815 East 13th Street)

DMPS transportation will continue to run their East routes for the rest of this week. This is to provide students access to East for counseling as well as meals. In addition, shuttle buses will continue to run as scheduled for East students wishing to attend classes at Central Campus or Central Academy.

The public safety presence will be increased. The Des Moines Police Department will have the Neighborhood Based Service Delivery (NBSD) units patrolling areas near all DMPS high schools tomorrow. In addition, DMPS Public Safety will also increase its presence around all high schools.

East High School activities will continue as scheduled this week. Students may decide whether or not they want to participate this week.