Principals Face Raft of Tough Decisions in Shootings' Aftermath
Less than four hours after a 14-year-old boy had opened fire at Heath High School in Paducah, Ky., killing three classmates and wounding five others, the principal had to begin making difficult choices.
Should school resume the next day? And, if so, should students and staff members return so soon to the place where an unimaginable scene of horror had unfolded? Those were just the first of many weighty decisions for Bill Bond, who was Heath’s principal on Dec. 1, 1997, the day that Michael Carneal, a freshman at the high school in the western Kentucky town, showed up on campus heavily armed and began shooting at students who had gathered for a morning prayer group.
As the community of Newtown, Conn., continues to bury and mourn the 20 children, the principal, and five other staff members who were gunned down by an armed intruder at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week , other educators who’ve been through similarly horrific events said school leaders there face a series of wrenching decisions about how to pick up the pieces and move forward amid immeasurable loss and grief. As they make logistical decisions, they must delicately mind the trauma and emotions of their staff members, their students, parents, and themselves. Longer-term considerations about how to memorialize...
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