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Shooting renews safety concerns at Yuba-Sutter schools

Children in the Yuba-Sutter area returned to what was a relatively quiet day at school Monday, the first day back since a gunman killed 26 people at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Several schools in the area held meetings before classes started to talk about the effects the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting may have had on classrooms. Among the topics of discussion was school safety.

"There are a few kids that are having a hard time," said Bruce Morton, director of student welfare and attendance at Yuba City Unified School District. "And there's a little bit of uneasiness about coming to school."

Administrators from several schools said that aside from a few concerned parents and students, Monday mostly functioned as a typical school day. The only difference was that lockdown procedures — which go into effect when schools are faced with extremely violent behavior — were being thoroughly reviewed and discussed.

READ: Lockdown procedures examined

In terms of maintaining student safety, Morton said the district is not doing anything unusual.

"If something like this happens, we are ready for it in our safety plan," he said.

The safety plan is built around keeping kids safe, Morton said. Schools practice lockdown drills throughout the year to be fully prepared if a school were to come under attack.

But Morton still said there is room for improvement.

"Can we get better? Yeah, we can," he said. "And that's what we're going to strive for."

In the Marysville Joint Unified School District, parents of students at Browns Valley Elementary School received a letter from Principal Lisa Goodman on Monday that expressed the importance of student safety.

"Please be assured that your child's safety is our greatest priority," the letter read.

Goodman said she wrote the letter because she felt she needed to acknowledge the events that happened in Connecticut, so that parents knew the school was taking the proper precautions.

As for students, school went on without mention of Sandy Hook from teachers or administrators. Counselors were available if students needed to talk.

Erica Shaver, a mother of two Browns Valley students and librarian at McKenney Intermediate School, said it was hard not to think about the Sandy Hook shooting when she dropped off her 6- and 9-year-olds at school.

She couldn't stop thinking about how ironic it was that McKenney had a lockdown drill two days before the shooting, she said.

"It was a little too close for comfort," Shaver said.

But Monday went by like most Mondays do, she said.

Although, there was one difference.

"I gave them an extra long hug and told them I love them before I sent them off to school," she said.

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