Rawlins County School District shares inside look at fire-damaged school

The school was set on fire early Monday morning. Police arrested two juveniles in connection to the crime.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 5:05 PM CDT
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ATWOOD, Kan. (KWCH) - The Rawlins County School District released photos on Friday showing damage caused by a fire inside the Junior Senior High School on Monday. Police arrested two juveniles in connection to the case. Both have been charged with arson and terrorism.

On Thursday, school officials held a special meeting to discuss future plans for the fire-ravaged school building. Around 180 students attend the school, but with the damages sustained, many say they’re worried about what the next school year will bring.

“It’s definitely nerve-racking not knowing what’s going to happen. Where are we going to be? Are our schedules going to be the same?” said Amira Hernandez, a junior at the school.

A 12-year-old and a 13-year-old were arrested and charged with arson and terrorism, among other charges, in connection to the fire.

Ella Horinek is a senior at the school where her family has attended the school for generations. She said she’s sad she won’t be able to walk across the same stage as her great-grandpa. She also expressed concerns about being separated from classmates whom she’s known since elementary school.

“I mean we all might be separated due to some actions and that’s sad. Because even though some of my classmates, we don’t all get along, but we’ve all had that small-town class connection,” Ella said.

Amelia Bowles, a junior in Atwood, said she can’t believe something like this has happened in her town.

“It’s crazy. Like you see this in the movies and books, you read about, and you never thought that it would actually be real in your hometown,” said Bowles.

While the full extent of damages is still being determined, Superintendent Eric Stoddard said the district is in the early stages of making plans for the upcoming school year. He said the district hopes to release more information in the following weeks.