North Park Elementary Set To Re-Open Monday Following Murder-Suicide Tragedy

SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com)  —   North Park Elementary in San Bernardino will re-open Monday — a week to the day a man fatally shot his estranged wife and shot two of her students before turning the gun on himself.

One of the two students also died.

As CBS2’s Tina Patel reports, school officials agreed to re-open the school with changes in security.

Patel reported that district officials have been consulting with officials from Columbine, Sand Hook and other schools involved in shooting tragedies on the best ways to make sure students feel safe and welcome again.

“When a visitor approaches the school, they’ll just hit the button,” said Lisa Bardere of the district.

The door to the front office will now remain closed at locked at all times. Staff can look at a monitor to determine if a person will be buzzed in and no one will be allowed past the office.

“The parents made it very clear they do not want any visitors being allowed onto the campus, just for their own security and peace of mind,” Bardere said.

The district will also consider whether to add more permanent security measures this summer — like locking doors between classrooms. This is currently impossible as the school has an open floor plan.

They are unlikely to add metal detectors — they still want the students to still feel welcome.

“They’ve done nothing wrong, they shouldn’t feel like they’re now in some lock down situation from here until the end of the school year,” Bardere added.

The classroom where teacher Karen Smith and student Jonathan Martinez were killed has been blocked off by a wall. The special needs students in that class are now being moved to another room on the other side of the school. A staff member already known to many of the class will over be taking over for the remainder of the year.

The staff is well aware it will be difficult for all those who knew and worked with Smith and those who attended classes with Martinez and Nolan Brandy, the 9-year-old who is still recovering from his injuries.

But they also know trying to return to a schedule that is as normal as possible is a necessary part of the healing process.

“Everyone’s looking forward to being together again, doing the work they are called to do,” Bardere said.

The school says they plan to leave the cards and flowers that have been left around the school — they want the students to feel the love and support from the community.

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