Grand Rapids students will make their way back to school on Monday, Aug. 28 -- a week earlier than usual.

While at a Back to School Safety press conference on Friday, August 25, Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal said that she is ready to have her students back.

As 20,000 people making their way to school on Monday, Grand Rapids Police Department Chief David Rahinsky stressed the importance of being aware of the additional people and students on the road -- especially as school is starting prior to the Labor Day holiday.

Rahinsky and Neal both said in lieu of the turmoil occurring throughout the nation, they hope Grand Rapids students and teachers will turn to each other for both compassion and acceptance.

"These are challenging times. Parents, I would advise having a conversation with your children about showing compassion...make a friend, be a friend," said Rahinsky.

Neal said she will absolutely not tolerate any mistreatment of her students.

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