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| Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
Hart District Students Return to School
Canyon High School students exit campus after their first day back following the Saugus shooting on Thursday. Cory Rubin/The Signal

 

While Saugus High School remained closed Monday after a fatal shooting on campus late last week, students at other district schools returned to class, with some expressing comfort from teachers and an increased law enforcement presence.

Students across William S. Hart Union High School District schools were welcomed by teachers, therapists and Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies on their first day back after experiencing a lockdown Thursday morning and canceled classes Friday, following the shooting that left three dead and three wounded.

Just outside campuses were “extra (sheriff’s) patrols comprised of detectives and specialized unit personnel,” said Lt. Joseph Fender, who added that deputies were also at junior highs and elementary schools. “All the deputies reported back they had spent significant and constructive time with the children of those schools, ensuring they felt safe and secure following last week’s events. The students were very excited to see such a show of support from our deputies.”

Once in class, students and teachers held a dialogue to welcome a discussion as teachers were given scripts for them to read to their classes, according to Stephanie Cotcher, the district’s licensed clinical social worker.

“We want students to know that it’s safe to share their concerns,” she said Monday night at a presentation on how to heal from trauma at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Bouquet Canyon Road.

And some students did feel safe, including Canyon High School student Rhyan Diaz, 16, who knew Gracie Anne Muehlberger — one of the two students who died.

“I was a little iffy about today, but after all the positive attitude I’ve seen, it just kind of helped me,” he said. “Staff members and other students were there to comfort those with negative thoughts.”

Over at Valencia High School, Divya Biju, mother of 16-year-old Lavanya, said, “Today was scary, especially because they had so many threats and fake things like that, but what can you do? They have to return to school.”

For more information on school schedules and resources, visit hartdistrict.org.

Comment On This Story

1 Comment

  1. Jae Farkas, MS, PRP says:

    I am a trauma and PTSD counselor with 30 years experience with survivors of violence and catastrophic events. I also train peer counselors to develop the rudimentary skill needed to offer support.

    A few years ago I was awarded a Golden Apple award from Hart School District for an intensive program I implemented in every District classroom from K through 12 on bullying prevention while the director of the Prevent Education at Valley Trauma Center.

    I was part of the mental health providers providing crisis intervention services after 9/11 and for the children and families affected by the shooting at the Jewish Community Center.

    I would like to volunteer to help in any capacity with folks who might benefit from my services. I work with a service dog trained to provide emotional support.

    Please share this with any organizers of aftermath counseling so that I can help my community heal.

    jaefarkas@gmail.com

Leave a Comment


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