Business as usual at high school after Virginia Tech shootings

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Business as usual at high school after Virginia Tech shootings

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By Ryan Bray
GateHouse Media
Thu May 03, 2007, 02:22 PM EDT

Scituate - In the two weeks since the Virginia Tech shootings swept through the college town of Blacksburg, Va., people nationwide are still struggling to grasp and adjust to the tragic events that left 33 students and faculty members at the school dead.

But miles an miles away from all the mourning and controversy, it's business as usual at Scituate High School, as students and faculty members go about their daily routines. Students rush about the halls while seniors, many of whom are in the process of hearing back from colleges and making their plans for the fall, count down the remaining days of their high school careers.

"It hasn't impacted them at all," said Sherri Lewis, director of guidance at the high school, regarding the impact of the shooting on outgoing students. "They all seem very excited."

But while students have carried on with things as they otherwise would, that's not to say that the Virginia Tech shootings haven't had some effect on the school, however slight. Principal Donna Nuzzo-Mueller said the shootings are of greater concern to teachers than to students, whom have come to learn of the tragedies from a distance through television and the news.

"I think our educators dwell on this more than the young people do," Nuzzo-Mueller said. "Developmentally at their age, I think it's difficult to grasp the severity of it all at that stage of their lives."

However, students are reacting in their own ways. Nuzzo-Mueller said several school groups and clubs have rallied to raise money for a fund established for the families of the shooting victims. Others, she said, have likely dealt with the tragedy outside the school with friends and family.

"We certainly have kids who want to reach out and help, and that's natural," she said.

The shootings almost immediately brought attention to the issue of how to better prepare and respond in the event of a similar emergency in the future. Administrators and campus police officials came under fire from parents and the media in the days following the event for what some saw as an inadequate response to the shootings, while locally, Gov. Deval Patrick met with administrators from public colleges and universities across the state to discuss how to best safeguard students in the event of another shooting.

But Nuzzo-Mueller said at the high school, there isn't much the school can likely do to prepare for a similar attack beyond the school's current emergency evacuation plan. She said incidents of the scale and magnitude of Virginia Tech or Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., could never be fully prepared for in spite of the best efforts from faculty and administrators.

"It all just shows that it could happen to anybody," Nuzzo-Mueller said. "It's a problem that just exists. There's always a slice of humanity that struggles with this issue. No matter what plan are put in place, you'd likely have to adapt to the situation should one arise."

Superintendent of Schools Mark Mason said he would meet with security advisers next week to discuss the potential for increased security within the district's six schools. But while student safety is always top priority, Mason said a balance must be struck between what's too much and not enough.

"It's a philosophical question," he said. "We want to keep our schools safe, but do we want to keep the kids in lockdown mode throughout the year?"

Nuzzo-Mueller said she is uncertain if any outgoing seniors will be attending Virginia Tech in the fall. She said that while graduates have gone on to attend the school in the past, it is not common from year to year.

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Original Source: Scituate Mariner
<a href="http://www.townonline.com/scituate/education/x1592158543">http://www.townonline.com/scituate/education/x1592158543</a>

Licensed under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0</a>.

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Ryan Bray

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2007-07-17

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Brent Jesiek

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eng

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Ryan Bray, "Business as usual at high school after Virginia Tech shootings," in The April 16 Archive, Item #759, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/759 (accessed July 30, 2014).