One week after a gunman opened fire inside a special education classroom in what appeared to be a domestic-related murder-suicide, classes resumed for students at the San Bernardino, California, elementary school.
Students returned to North Park Elementary School Monday morning and were greeted by a performer who blew bubbles and handed out teddy bears. A large banner outside of the school read, “We love you,” and a memorial outside of the school was filled with flowers, candles, and balloons.
The shooting left special education teacher Karen Smith dead, as well as her estranged husband, Cedric Anderson, who turned the gun on himself while still in the classroom. Two students – 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez and 9-year-old Nolan Brandy – were also caught in the crossfire; Nolan survived, Jonathan did not.
But school Superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden said returning to school is the first step in the healing process.
“We are all feeling the pain that comes with a tragedy like this. Together, we will move forward,” Marsden said.
“They put their arms of healing around each other; they put their arms of healing around the students when they came in today,” he added, speaking of staff and students alike. “It’s just a beautiful process.”
Counselors were at the school and available for both students and staff.
“We will not allow the actions of one individual to interrupt our commitment to our students,” Marsden concluded.
[ ABC News ]