SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — Exactly one week after a horrific classroom shooting that left three people dead, including the suspect, teachers and staff waited at every door and gate to welcome students back at North Park Elementary School Monday.
“We’re just here to let them know we are so happy to see them and that we love them,” Counselor Diane Abrams said.
On April 10, special-needs teacher Karen Smith was gunned down in her classroom by her estranged husband in what San Bernardino police called a murder-suicide. Cedric Anderson, 53, entered Smith’s classroom and shot her dead. Two students standing behind her at the time were also struck by gunfire. Eight-year-old Jonathan Martinez was killed. Nolan Brandy, 9, was critically hurt, but survived.
The school remained closed all last week. Many parents admitted it was hard to return.
“We’re taking it moment by moment, it’s pretty unnerving,” North Park parent Tracy Stitt said.
The school district increased security at North Park, adding security cameras and a new buzzer system at the entrance. Front office staff will check the identification of visitors against the Megan’s Law website.
“Nobody can get in without being pre-approved, that’s the big one,” father Ricky Jimenez said. “It shouldn’t been like that in the first place.”
The school is also planning to add locking doors between classrooms, but that will have to wait until the current school year ends.
“Not everything happens in healing in one day,” San Bernardino City Unified School District Superintendent Dale Marsden said. “This is going to take us some time.
Some parents, however, are not sure they will ever feel safe here again.
“We have a first grader that we’re obviously concerned about,” Stitt said. “We’re not certain if this is going to be our elementary school home for much longer. But we’re trying to get back to normal, if that’s possible.”
The school said a crisis team of extra teachers and counselors will be on hand as long as is needed.