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St. Louis Parents Send Kids To School After Newtown Shooting

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– It was anything but a normal Monday for many St. Louis families sending their kids back to school for the first time since the mass murder at a Connecticut elementary school.

Flags were at half staff and county police were in the parking lot like this morning at Babler Elementary School in Wildwood.

The same uneasy scene greeted thousands of St. Louis area kids when they arrived at schools in several districts.

Jaime Bayes has two kids at Utoff Valley Elementary in Fenton.

She sent them to class but admits she has had trouble letting them out of her sight since the shooting.

“Sending them anywhere when they`re not literally in your arms is unnerving. But I think it`s also a great reminder for all of us of the blessings we have and we can you know count them each and every day and really hold them tight,” said Bayes.

Todd Peterson took the day off from work to take his two kids to Utoff.

“I did want to make sure I was here just so I could kind of get a feel for how everything was going to go from here on,” explained Peterson.

Rockwood School District officials say they had guidance counselors and administrators on hand ready to talk with kids who needed help dealing with their emotions.

“We will be extra sensitive to children. We are going to be doing our normal school routine because we know that routine provides security for children in these troubled times,” said Rockwood Chief Communications Officer Kim Cranston.

As school officials dealt with issues on campuses, St. Louis County Police had additional officers around basically all elementary schools where they patrol.

At the same time, county cops met with staff at schools talking about classroom safety.
The message from County Police Chief Tim Fitch to parents and others:  “we want them to see us around the schools until we are able to meet with the schools later in the week which we plan to do to talk about where to we go from here?”

That meeting is slated to happen Thursday.
Some details are still being worked out.