PEQUOT LAKES -- Laura Swenson said she and her friends at Pequot Lakes High School were talking Tuesday about missing college student Dru Sjodin, who is a 2000 Pequot Lakes graduate, and reached a consensus.
"We all came to the conclusion we're not safe anywhere," the Pequot junior explained. "That bad things happen to good people."
A group of nearly 20 high school students and teachers gathered in art teacher Dave Guenther's classroom Tuesday morning to watch a live news conference from Grand Forks. It's an art room that Sjodin herself spent a lot of time in when she went to high school there.
While many of the students weren't personally acquainted with Sjodin, many of them are familiar with the story of her abduction, of the search for the University of North Dakota student and the Monday arrest of a 50-year-old Crookston man in connection with Sjodin's disappearance.
Sjodin's abduction hit too close to home for many of them, who said they are now more fearful of being alone in a public place.
If it could happen to Sjodin, it could happen to them too.
Swenson said she was driving home alone from a baby-sitting job and was scared to walk in the dark alone from her car to her house, but was thankful that her mother was inside, watching her through a window. She said she has been checking the back seat of her car a lot, ever since Sjodin was abducted from a Grand Forks shopping mall where she worked.
Ali Gravdahl, a Pequot junior, said she stayed on her cell phone with her mother as she left her part-time job recently and was afraid as she walked alone in the dark to her car.
Krystal Olson, a Pequot senior, said she remembers Sjodin when she played basketball at the school.
"She was one of my favorite basketball players when I was younger. I remember she was real pretty," said Olson. "Most people say that it can never happen to us, and it's happened."
After Tuesday's news conference from Grand Forks, the students were disappointed that law enforcement didn't release any new information about the suspect or about Sjodin.
"I thought they were going to have more, but they didn't say anything," said Gravdahl.
"If they're going to arrest someone, tell us why they arrested him," added Shelly Piffier, a Pequot senior. "It's stupid they're not telling us."
"They haven't found a body, and that's good," Guenther told the students. "That means she may be alive and that's good."
"How else can you make it positive?" Guenther later said. "It gives us hope that she's alive somewhere."
Superintendent Jim Oraskovich said that students have been more afraid for their own personal safety since Sjodin was abducted Nov. 22. School social workers have been working with students to help alleviate their feelings and make them feel safe.
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