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December 17, 2012

Students prepare for return to classes

MIAMI — Jessica Kornfeld drove her children to their elementary school this past weekend. She wanted them to feel reassured that it was still a safe place, despite a horrific shooting in New England that killed 20 students very close to their own age.

“Our school is the same as it was when you left,” she told them. “It’s going to be fine.”

Kornfeld and parents across the country were trying to quell their children’s fears about returning to school today for the first time since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. School administrators have pledged to add police patrols, review security plans and make guidance counselors available.

And yet, it was pretty near impossible for parents not to be anxious and apprehensive following Friday’s violence.

“For them, you need to pretend that you’re OK,” said Kornfeld, of Pinecrest, Fla. in suburban Miami. “But it’s scary.”

Teachers shared their concerns and braced themselves for what they would face in the classroom today.

“It’s going to be a tough day,” said Richard Cantlupe, an American history teacher at Westglades Middle School in Parkland, Fla. “This was like our 9/11 for school teachers.”

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