Minneapolis principal says city ‘completely and entirely out of control’ after shooting of student

"It feels out of control. It feels like when I walk into a classroom where the teacher has given up."

Left: Principal Mauri Friestleben. Right: The Super USA store where a 17-year-old student was shot. (Screenshots from video posted to North Community High School Facebook page.)

A Minneapolis Public Schools principal said the city feels like a classroom without a teacher in a video posted to Facebook Tuesday afternoon.

“I know for me I am so absolutely, 100% over it. For those of you who do not know what is happening in the city of Minneapolis, let me help you understand. So we literally are in a city right now that is completely and entirely out of control. I have to absolutely just say it,” said North Community High School Principal Mauri Friestleben.

She and dozens of her fellow principals from across the district gathered Tuesday on the corner of Dowling and Fremont avenues to pay tribute to Andre Conley, a 17-year-old senior at Patrick Henry High School who was shot and killed Monday afternoon. His death marked the 59th homicide in Minneapolis this year.

“It feels out of control. It feels like when I walk into a classroom where the teacher has given up, and all of you guys know the way that classroom feels, right? You know that you’ll get that teacher where maybe those one or two naughty kids that won’t listen, the teacher just says ‘fine.’ They just shrug their shoulders and they sit down behind their desk and they put their feet up and they say, ‘I’ll collect this check,’” Friestleben said in a video posted to North Community High School’s Facebook page during the event.

“The whole class goes rogue. That’s how it feels to me right now. That’s how the city of Minneapolis feels to me right now. Nothing is making any sense. Everything feels topsy-turvy,” she added.

Friestleben acknowledged that she wasn’t just speaking for herself, but as a representative of her school.

“Guess what? I am speaking as the North Community High School principal. I have kids that so badly and so deeply want to be in school, they want to play their sports, they want to get in the weight room, they want to workout. And because of COVID, guess what? They can’t do anything,” she said. “We’re kicking them out of the school. We’re kicking them out of the weight room. They can’t practice, they can’t workout. All of these things because of COVID, but just down the street they see people doing whatever they want.”

She said others in the community are “allowed to be however they want to be,” but her “kids can’t workout.”

“It doesn’t make any sense and the kids know it doesn’t make any sense,” she added.

Without naming any names, Friestleben then said Minneapolis is being “held hostage by the voices of a few.” Law enforcement officers, she said, are discouraged from doing their jobs because they feel like the “city council” and “the people” don’t want them in the community anymore. But according to Friestleben, that’s not true.

“Because the people who I’m around need and want good law enforcement. The people who are in my community need and want good law enforcement, and have the maturity to be able to say that we need good law enforcement to need and want us,” she said.

Friestleben claimed that laws are broken with impunity in her neighborhood because the police are no longer patrolling the area.

“What is law enforcement? It is enforcing the law. There is no law enforcement. There is a reaction but there is no enforcement. And so we here? We can’t take it anymore,” she continued. “Look, what does a good principal do? A good principal has control of their school. A good principal does it without being mean and doesn’t necessarily carry a big stick, they just have order. They have order in their school.”

She concluded her remarks by urging “somebody to come out and say the things that nobody else really wants to say.”

“If you don’t see this video later, it’s probably because I said too much.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Minneapolis Police Department had not announced any arrests in Conley’s death.

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