Though the Newtown shootings happened Friday morning, many across the country didn’t really learn of them until later in the afternoon. Thus, many students here in Pulaski County didn’t necessarily learn about what had happened while they were in school, or so appears to be the case based on what the superintendents said. Still, each pledged that every student who might have difficulty processing the fatal incident would have the resources they need to help them through this time.
“(Students) will be going home to their families for the weekend and they’ll see it on the news and talk to their parents,” said Walker, “but yes, we have an excellent guidance counselor, Ms. (Barbara) Estep. She’s highly trained, skilled and compassionate, if students need to talk.”
He noted that Estep would likely be available over the weekend if any students wanted to meet or just talk about their feelings about the tragic events.
Butcher said that Pulaski Schools maintain a team of grief counselors at the ready, for situations like this and others that hit closer to home.
“If we have a tragedy in our school like a car wreck, we have grief counselors meet with students,” he said. “We try to make sure we’re covering our bases. I talked to a couple of principals today, and their reaction was much like mine, they were appalled by what happened. I don’t think most of the students knew about it. Maybe some of the older kids knew something, but not the elementary kids.”
Randolph said access to information for younger students is “much more controlled” but normal protocol would be to provide a chance for students to talk with counselors for “any type of tragedy.” He also said that he was the first to inform the city school system’s principals of what had happened.