SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — Students arriving for the first day of classes Monday found a new color scheme, layout, and robust security features at a San Bernardino school devastated by a murder-suicide in April.
North Park Elementary School, freshly painted with a new color scheme of gold, teal and gray, underwent a $1 million overhaul over the summer.
On April 10, Cedric Anderson, 53, opened fire on the special needs classroom of his estranged wife, 53-year-old Karen Smith. Gunfire also hit two students, killing 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez, and injuring 9-year-old Nolan Brandy.
New security measures at the entrance caused a backup as parents checked their students in for their first day of class.
Classrooms are now lined with tempered glass, fitted with locking steel doors and each now has an outdoor exit. Hallway walls are brightly colored and feature images of inspirational leaders and some of their most famous quotes.
The special needs classroom where the deadly shooting took place has been turned into a project room. The number on the door has also been changed, and special needs students have been moved to a room across the hall.
Every staffer is returning to the school – with the exception of the two instructional aides who witnessed the shooting and got the surviving students to safety.
“Some people are able to move on, but others are still very, very nervous,” Principal Yadira Downing said.
The school’s fences still display messages of hope and encouragement, but it’s the only visible indication of the tragedy that happened just four months ago.
Student Garrett Tillman said his friend Nolan is doing good. His twin sisters are also enrolled at the school.
“I’m just happy to be here,” Garrett said.