Schools prepare to counsel students in wake of shooting

scetrone@heraldonline.comDecember 17, 2012 

In the wake of the shootings at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 children dead, York County school officials said counselors will be available at all campuses in the four districts for students who have questions or need consoling next week.

Students are welcome to come as needed, and parents who want to schedule time for their children to talk with a counselor can call, email or visit their school.

“If we see that any kid needs any help, we’ll offer it right away,” York schools Superintendent Vernon Prosser said.

After hearing the news Friday that a gunman had opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that morning, Rock Hill schools Superintendent Lynn Moody said she immediately ordered schools to be on heightened alert.

A gunman killed 26 people – 20 of them children between the ages of 5 and 10 – in the Friday morning shooting.

The gunman walked into a classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary and fatally shot 20 students, most in the same classroom. He also shot and killed six other adults and then himself inside the school. One person was injured.

Superintendents said they were shaken by the news.

“It’s just an empty feeling,” Prosser said. “I wanted to reach out in any way I can, but I felt helpless.”

School systems across the country have focused on campus security since 1999, when two teenagers at Columbine High in Colorado went to school armed with guns and homemade explosives and killed 12 students and a teacher.

At schools in York County, all doors but the front entrance are locked. Security cameras roll. Visitors must sign in at the front office.

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