COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – It’s been a hard day for many students at one Columbus City School. This morning, investigators confirmed 16-year-old Olivia Kurtz died at the Bicentennial shooting this weekend. Columbus City Schools also confirmed she was one of their students.
That is why the Principal at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School, Milton Ruffin, said the school made sure they had counselors and support from district and building levels available for any students who may not be comfortable going to their original counselor location, which is in the library.
“We plan to do it tomorrow as well as Thursday because the students are here on Cohort’s,” said Ruffin.
He said they had a 7:15 a.m. meeting to make sure everyone understood how they would be providing support for any of the contingencies that may arise.
“We have been focusing on is exactly how we can support our students once they got here today,” he said.
Principal Ruffin said his message as a school is to provide a solid foundation for students to make good choices when they leave school grounds and upon graduation. He said Olivia Kurtz was a good student. She was on the academic honor’s society, dance team and was learning a third language.
“Two weeks ago, she was inducted into the Japanese National Honors Society,” he said.
NBC 4 also got a chance to speak with a local mom who knew Olivia. Hazel Davis says her daughter was best friends with Olivia. It’s why Hazel went back to the crime scene today, she wanted to try to process everything that’s occurred, especially as she just saw her on Saturday.
“They were in her room laughing joking. Dropped them off at the zoo and now this? My daughter lost her best friend,” said Davis.
Davis said her daughter went to middle school and high school together with Olivia and her twin sister.
“They were three peas in a pod,” said Davis.
Davis said her daughter and Olivia were both at the party at Bicentennial Park this weekend. Today, though her daughter is physically ok, she’s hurting emotionally, as she’s lost her best friend.
“She was right by her. They kept talking to her. Telling her to talk. She wouldn’t talk.”
Principal Ruffin said it’s been a sad day. As a school, they’ll be doing everything they can to provide emotional support for their students in a time of need.
When asked how the school is helping to stop some of the gun violence the City of Columbus is seeing and how to help students talk to each other during arguments, he said, “When we get a report of an issue then the early intervention is the key for us. So, if hear of a situation that is happening then we immediately do an intervention.”
What happens outside of the school’s doors is a community issue according to one of the district’s spokespeople.
“We teach from day one work hard, work together, and allow others to work. That’s what we teach from the moment they step on our campus until they graduate,” said Ruffin.