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Students in many Twin Cities schools joined moment of silence honoring shooting victims

Students in many Twin Cities schools this morning observed a moment of silence to honor the victims of the shooting Saturday in Arizona that left six people dead and Rep.

Students in many Twin Cities schools this morning observed a moment of silence to honor the victims of the shooting Saturday in Arizona that left six people dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically injured.

Every district contacted by MinnPost this morning reminded staff at individual school buildings to fly the flag at half-staff. Most also encouraged principals to ask teachers and students to observe the 10 a.m. moment of silence called for by President Barack Obama.

Every principal and administrator at Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools received an email reminder about the national observation this morning, for instance. Communications Director Mary Olson attached the Obama’s official White House statement on the shooting, which took place during a meet-the-congresswoman event outside a grocery store in northwestern Tucson, Ariz.

“We do not yet have all the answers,” the statement http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/08/statement-president read in part. “What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Rep. Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers.”

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Giffords, who was shot in the head at close range, is in stable condition. The dead included the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Arizona and a 9-year-old girl. A suspect, Jared Loughner, was charged in federal court in Phoenix this morning.

Observation of the moment of silence was voluntary and on a school-by-school basis in Mounds View, Anoka-Hennepin, Stillwater, Edina and Minneapolis, where teachers were encouraged to make sure discussions with students were age-appropriate. Observation was  district-wide in Minnetonka.

Administrators in several districts said they left principals who could not coordinate with staff in time to observe the moment of silence the option of honoring the shooting victims in some other fashion.