High schoolers still in shock

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High schoolers still in shock

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The shootings at Virginia Tech on Monday hit too close to home for some students and faculty at both Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools high schools.

Many said they worried that several recent graduates of East Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill high schools who now attend Virginia Tech could have been victims, but no alumni are among those reported dead.

"There's great sympathy among our students and concern for graduates from our schools who may have been attending Virginia Tech and to get in contact with the person and make sure they're safe," said Stephanie Knott, assistant to the superintendent for community relations for the district.

Linda Klemmer, counseling department chairwoman at Chapel Hill High, said students and faculty expressed anxiety about alumni.

"There was some concern for students that had siblings and friends at Virginia Tech," she said.

"I got a sense of sadness and shock," she added, as she described the students' moods in wake of the incident.

Her department is open to students who want to talk to someone about the shootings, she said.

Owen McDonnell, a freshman at Virginia Tech and graduate of Chapel Hill High, was one of the people those at home worried about.

"A lot of people were saying they tried to call me and couldn't," he said. McDonnell traveled back to Chapel Hill late Tuesday to be with family after Monday's tragedy struck his campus, but he said he's eager to get back to the daily grind of classes.

"I think it's important to get back to normal after having a week to grieve," he said.

But students at one of the district's high schools already have experienced gun violence on campus.

Last April, William Barrett Foster, then a student at East Chapel Hill High, took social studies teacher Lisa Kukla and student Chelsea Slegal hostage after school.

Kukla and Slegal eventually were able to talk to Foster, and they convinced him to shoot out a window instead of killing them.

Knott said last year's incident helped calm students' and faculty's fears about the possibility that something such as the Virginia Tech incident could happen locally.

The hostage incident forced district officials to prepare campuses for anything.

"For the most part we made some revisions to security following the hostage situation at East Chapel Hill High School last year," Knott said. "You'll find in the superintendent's recommended budget about a $206 ,000 request to fund some new safety projects."

Knott said she plans to ask principals to encourage students to wear maroon and orange - Virginia Tech colors - Friday for Orange & Maroon Effect Day to commemorate victims of the tragedy.

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Original Source: <a href=http://media.www.dailytarheel.com/media/storage/paper885/news/2007/04/19/City/High-Schoolers.Still.In.Shock-2851416.shtml>Daily Tar Heel - April 19, 2007</a>

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Sara Hood

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Daily Tar Heel

Date

2007-07-27

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Sara Hood

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Kevin Schwartz <kschwartz@unc.edu>

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eng

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Sara Hood, "High schoolers still in shock," in The April 16 Archive, Item #833, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/833 (accessed August 23, 2014).