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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Northside staff assuages students concerns over Connecticut school shooting

  • “The atmosphere is different this Monday morning,” Northside Elementary Assistant Principal Mike Fugazzi said when discussing how students and staff were reacting to the Sandy Hook school massacre.
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  •     “The atmosphere is different this Monday morning,” Northside Elementary Assistant Principal Mike Fugazzi said when discussing how students and staff were reacting to the Sandy Hook school massacre.
        Fugazzi said the staff at Northside were getting some questions from children voicing concerns on the events in Connecticut and looking for a level of reassurance from teachers and staff.
        Based on news reports of what was happening in schools across the country on Monday, the questions asked of teachers and staff by students at Northside on that day were questions on the minds of the young children of America.
        The profile of Northside and Sandy Hook are similar in that the Connecticut school had children through grade four and Northside teaches children through grade five.  
        On Friday as news of the shooting broke, the school e-mailed staff to give them a heads up of the tragedy. Students were not told during the day.
        The school held an administrative meeting Monday morning to discuss how to address concerns of students, review teacher responsibilities in a crisis and review the building plans for such an incident.
        Fugazzi said the school had been reviewing the safety policies already in place since the beginning of the year.
        He said Northside would likely be sending home to parents and guardians information on the school’s preparedness this week.
        Pat Kirchner, a counselor at Northside, said that on Monday, “We’ve had some kids ask some questions,” about the events that happened.  
        Kirchner said that she and the school staff were reassuring the children. She also said she stressed  to the children that, “This is why we have a plan and practice that plan.”
        She believed parents will use their best judgment on how to explain this tragedy to children.
        Talking with the teachers at the school she said that there is ‘a lot of sorrow’ among the Northside teachers.
        In addition to the tragic loss of the innocent children, the sorrow felt among the teachers is also  because the Northside professionals  know teachers were on the front line of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
        Like the teachers at Sandy Hook, Kirchner said the teachers at Northside, “Would do anything to protect our kids.”   
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