Local schools ready to help kids with questions about Las Vegas shooting

Counselors & psychologists available for students

Local schools ready to help kids with...

GUADALUPE, Calif. - Within a few hours of the Las Vegas shooting, news spread quickly, including to those who are too young to understand and comprehend what happened.

On Monday morning, children returned back to school, many of whom who had already heard of the tragic event.

"I think they're pretty much in tune," said Guadalupe Union School District superintendent Ed Cora. "My guess is through Facebook or whatever social media they have, that's probably where they will hear the information."

Cora was shocked to hear what had transpired on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday night.

"It's just a horrific, horrific event," said Cora. "On behalf of the school board and everyone here, our thoughts and prayers to anybody who was involved or who had somebody that was involved in that horrific incident."

Cora said class went on as normal today. The shooting was not brought up or talked about in any formal capacity.

Calls to several other school districts, including Santa Maria-Bonita, Santa Maria Joint Union High School and Lucia Mar Unified all revealed schools in those districts also did not address the shooting in an official manner.

In Guadalupe, Cora said he let the principals at the district's two school handle the situation.

"I allowed both principals to use their discretion on situations like this," Cora said. "Ms. (Jesely) Alvarez here (Mary Buren Elementary) put it in her Monday memo. At McKenzie (Junior High School) , I asked Mr. (Gabriel) Solorio, and he just kind of felt things out and he didn't feel the need to mention anything."

While there was not an official address to talk about the shooting, students at both Guadalupe schools do have an outlet should they feel the need to speak with someone.

"We have an outreach consultant at each school and we also have a psychologist on campus here at the elementary school if needed," said Cora.

Officials at the other local school districts also added counselors and psychologists are available for students.

As a longtime educator, Cora believes the shooting is something parents should speak about with their children, especially as a tool to emphasize personal safety.

"I think parents need to have that conversation with their children," Cora said. "You never know. Think about the individuals that were at the concert. I'm sure they never thought something would happen, but it's good to just always be aware and know your surroundings and think about the what ifs. Know and have plan in place to do something to take care of yourself and those around you."

Cora adds in light of the shooting, it's a good idea for students to be aware of what's going on in the world, not just what's happening locally.

"I think it's important to know," said Cora. "Especially with the junior high school. We're talking about 7th and 8th grade students. World events, local events, it is important to know what's going on, but it's also important for the administrators to have those conversations with the teachers and how we will address to our students, so we all come from the same vantage point."

Well before Sunday's shooting, Guadalupe Union School District has had a safety plan in place that is continually re-evaluated and rehearsed should something catastrophic happen on campus.

"There's several things we done over the years to make sure we can be prepared the best we can and hopefully we'll never have to deal one," said Cora, noting locks and window shades have been upgraded.

Cora holds a weekly meeting each Tuesday with his administrative team. He said this week's meeting will address Sunday's shooting.

"It will be on the agenda," said Cora. "And our lockdown drills. Where are we? When was our last one? And just kind of re-evaluate and see where we're at with all those things. We know what's happened in the past, where when things like that happen at schools, schools almost always say we never thought it would happen to us, so you want to be prepared."

Preparing for a tragic event is disappointing sign of the times, but is something that simply needs to be done.

"It's a shame we have to think about that, but it's the world we're in today," said Cora.

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