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Unit Five flashes back to its own trauma after east coast school tragedy

Fri, 14 Dec 2012 16:53:08 CST
By: Charlie Schlenker

The Superintendant of Unit Five Schools in Bloomington Normal says he is saddened by the mass school shooting in Connecticut. It brings back the recent shooting incident at Normal Community High School for Gary Niehaus.

"Unit Five and Normal Community had a whole lot of God moments that day that was with us. there could have been so many things that could have happened that it wouldn't have turned out the way it did."

There were no casualties at NCHS when a distressed student took a class hostage and fired into the ceiling and wall before he was overpowered by other students and a teacher. But, Niehaus says the grade school deaths in New England may retraumatize NCHS students.

"That wouldn't surprise me. But I also think that hopefully the connectivity they have made through their experiences will be reconnected back to a parent back to a counselor, back to a pastor, back to a classmate, a team mate, someone who can help them through it again."

Niehaus urges people to listen carefully to students if they are thrown back into distress from the recent news. Since the shooting, Unit Five has gathered cell phone numbers for nearly all high school students to include in its emergency alert system and plans to send a test message over the winter break. The 15 year old NCHS gunman is due for trial later this month as a juvenile.

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