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Students nervously return to school after shooting

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm •  Published: December 17, 2012

Chicago resident Melissa Tucker said she only sent her children to school after assurances from administrators that extra safety precautions had been taken.

"I was actually going to keep them home today," she said.

One school district in western Pennsylvania went so far as to get a court order allowing armed officers in each of its schools on Monday. The board had recently voted to let officers carry guns but decided to expedite the process after Friday's shooting. The court order affected the Butler Area School District and the South Butler County School District, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Many schools held a moment of silence and flew flags at half-staff. Teachers and administrators tried to handle the psychological toll, many opting for routine rather than a discussion about the shooting.

Kit Bell, 65, a second-grade teacher at Sunnyside Elementary School in San Francisco, said she didn't talk to her students about the shooting, but that teachers were discussing it among themselves and questioning safety procedures.

"You're responsible for these children," she said. "It crosses your mind where it didn't cross your mind before. It's stressful. It's painful. It's sad."

At the Global Concepts Charter School in Lackawanna, N.Y., near Buffalo, Principal David Ehrle fielded calls from parents who told him they had shielded their children from news coverage over the weekend. The parents wanted to know whether the kids would hear about it from their teachers. He told them they would not.

"Certainly, you can't stop kids from talking on the bus or at the lunch table, but as a school we're not, if you will, sponsoring educating about it," he said.

Rosell said she didn't tell her daughter about the shooting but did try to prepare her in case there is ever a dangerous situation. She advised her daughter to dive onto the floor if she saw someone with a gun or people screaming.

"You mean like hide under my desk?" the girl asked.

No, Rosell said, explaining that she should pretend to be lifeless on the floor and not move. Her daughter looked confused.

"You could tell she was lost," Rosell said.

Victoria, the Miami 11-year-old, was sent to speak with the guidance counselor, who told her some people are bad, but not most, and there are some things no one can prevent.

"I just try not to think about what happened," she said.


Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Joe Mandak in Pittsburgh; Michelle Nealy in Chicago; Carolyn Thompson in Lackawanna, N.Y.; Samantha Critchell in Ridgefield, Conn.; Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H., and Terence Chea in San Francisco.