Nervous parents send children to school after the Connecticut shooting
It was business as usual at many Tucson schoolsPhoto: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - All across the country it was the first day of classes since the Connecticut school shooting. While some parents kept their children home on Monday, most sent their children to school -- a bit nervous -- wanting to know how their teachers will handle anxious students.
As Basis Tucson principal Jason Shorbe walked the hallways during the day, he set out to show students, it was business as usual. "As far teachers in the classroom, it was business as usual. Nothing has changed."
Chemistry teacher Kathi Waldron focused on being calm and confident in the classroom. "Most of them do know what happened though we're focusing on keeping the momentum going, and what we're doing is educating them. I want to educate them on chemistry and so they were ready to do chemistry today."
Shorbe sent an email to the teachers yesterday, "talking about if students come to them and have questions to deal with them individually, to avoid whole group discussions, because parents deal with these situations at home differently from child to child."
KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos spoke to principals and teachers in other districts. At some schools, principals instructed all their teachers to briefly talk about what happened. At others, they were given the option and encouraged to take cues from their students.
Esparanza Elementary School teacher Victoria Barajas said she asked her 3rd grade students if they wanted to discuss what happened in Connecticut. She said they didn't want to -- so she moved on.
Both principal and all teachers at Basis are also keeping an eye out for any change in a student's behavior. "And we know them pretty well. And if we see anything out of the ordinary, we're going to direct them to Mr. Shorbe," said Waldron.
"To be honest with you, I have a couple of students i need to talk to today, I'm sure this will come up. But you know, it's the same process. The teachers let me know this student needs someone to talk to and I think you should have some face time with him and I do."
At the larger schools, more counselors are on staff to talk to students. Coyote Trail Elementary principal Dan Johnson said that counselors swept through the classes making eye contact with teachers, in case they were needed, and only one student left the classroom to talk.
The Basis staff set out to keep the kids on task to avoid downtime that might lead to student discussions on what happened in Connecticut. "If that does happens, we're going to steer them in a different direction," said Waldron.
Principal Shorbe says he believes parents understand that teachers are well trained. "I think the kids are confident that we know what we're doing and that we're looking out for them."