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View Blog Archive WebSchoolPro Blog > Principals Face Raft of Tough Decisions in Shootings' Aftermath

Category - General
Posted - 12/20/2012 11:38am
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Principals Face Raft of Tough Decisions in Shootings' Aftermath
Published Online: December 20, 2012

Principals Face Raft of Tough Decisions in Shootings' Aftermath

A young girl waves as her school bus pulls into Hawley Elementary School on Tuesday in Newtown, Conn. Classes resumed Tuesday for Newtown K-12 public schools, except for those at Sandy Hook Elementary, the site of Friday’s shooting.
—Jason DeCrow/AP

Less than four hours after a 14-year-old boy had opened fire at Heath High School in Paducah, Ky., killing three classmates and wounding five others, the principal had to begin making difficult choices.

Should school resume the next day? And, if so, should students and staff members return so soon to the place where an unimaginable scene of horror had unfolded? Those were just the first of many weighty decisions for Bill Bond, who was Heath’s principal on Dec. 1, 1997, the day that Michael Carneal, a freshman at the high school in the western Kentucky town, showed up on campus heavily armed and began shooting at students who had gathered for a morning prayer group.

As the community of Newtown, Conn., continues to bury and mourn the 20 children, the principal, and five other staff members who were gunned down by an armed intruder at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, other educators who’ve been through similarly horrific events said school leaders there face a series of wrenching decisions about how to pick up the pieces and move forward amid immeasurable loss and grief. As they make logistical decisions, they must delicately mind the trauma and emotions of their staff members, their students, parents, and themselves. Longer-term considerations about how to memorialize the victims also await.

Already, leaders in Newtown have decided to reopen school for Sandy Hook on Jan. 2, after the winter holidays, though students in the district’s six other schools returned Dec. 18. Sandy Hook students and staff members will not return for now to the campus in Newtown, which remains a massive crime scene. Their classes will resume in a borrowed middle school building in Monroe, a neighboring town. Donna Page, a retired former principal of Sandy Hook, has been selected to lead the school through the transition in place of Dawn Hochsprung, the beloved and energetic leader who was killed in the Dec. 14 massacre.

Link to the full article at EdWeek here