Students Return to Sparks Middle School One Week After Shooting
Master Sgt. Michael Landsberry
Students returned to class Monday at Sparks Middle School - one week after a 12-year-old killed a math teacher and wounded two other students, before killing himself.
Children milled around the asphalt basketball court at Sparks Middle School before Monday's 7:30 a.m. bell.
"It's really scary to think of what happened here. I just keep thinking if it will happen again," says 8th grader Antonio Ochoa.
Police are still trying to determine what prompted Jose Reyes to fatally shoot popular math teacher Michael Landsberry as students arrived for class last Monday morning.
The emotions are harder for some to deal with than others. "She was really scared. Just right now, when I was at the stop sign, she was like 'do I have to be here? Can I just go home?'" says sister Cynthia Rodriguez.
Ochoa adds, "They experienced it with you, so, you are all here together, and you can talk to each other and stuff like that."
"This was a difficult day for everyone, but our Sparks Middle School family pulled together to help make it easier," said Principal Stacey Cooper. "We welcomed our students back with lots of hugs, some quiet time if they needed it, and plenty of time together with their friends and teachers. Our counselors were available all day for anyone who needed help. We want to thank Sparks Middle School families who worked with us to make this day easier for our students. We couldn't have done it without their help, support, and resilience."
School district police chief Mike Mieras says more officers and counselors are on hand to greet the students.
And the school district's superintendent says they've been preparing for this day - showing support to the children and teachers. "The schools are safe. The children, even last week, wanted to come back. They were calling our teachers. I think all of us want some level of normalcy," says Pedro Martinez.
The first day wasn't easy for parents either - dropping off their kids at a place where so much was lost, a week ago. "I'm nervous. I'm scared. I hope it doesn't happen again...he normally takes the bus. I drove him this morning. I might probably be driving him for awhile," says parent Kimberly Prestigiacomo.
Eric Benton adds, "It's kind of tough. I've got mixed emotions about it. I was just actually talking to him about it before we showed up here. I just want him to show just a little compassion."
Nobody knows when that normalcy will return, but knowing there are people there to lean on is something parents are thankful for. "I'm glad to see all the help here. He'll get to talk to his friends, today, and hopefully, get over this whole thing," says Prestigiacomo.
Benton adds, "It's going to be a long week, I think, for all of us to heal and mend. But I'm kind of looking forward to getting past this and getting through the school year."
Martinez says they will never be able replace Michael Landsberry but they do have a teacher taking over his classes. She was actually a teacher at Sparks Middle last year but was promoted to be a teacher's coach. She volunteered to come back and will teach his classes for at least the rest of the year.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled Sunday, November 3rd for Master Sgt. Michael Landsberry. It will take place at 3pm inside Sparks Christian Fellowship located at 510 Greenbrae Avenue.
During the Celebration of Life, Landsberry's casket will be present and he will receive full military honors including an honor guard 21-gun salute and the presentation of national colors to his family. Family and officials including Gov. Brian Sandoval are set to provide remarks during the Celebration of Life.
A public viewing will take place the day before from 9am to 6pm at Walton's Funeral Home located at 1745 Sullivan Lane.
Police say 45-year-old Landsberry died while trying to intervene during the 7:15am shooting.
The Community Foundation of Western Nevada is hosting a fund to provide financial support to the victims, students, staff, families, and Sparks Middle School in the wake of the shooting. This fund, The SMS Compassion Fund, is accepting tax-deductible monetary donations. Disbursements will be advised by representatives of the Washoe County School District and the City of Sparks under the oversight of the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, to assure the funds are distributed to meet the needs of the school community as they are identified.
For more information, call the Community Foundation of Western Nevada at 775-333-5499. The foundation's website is located at www.nevadafund.org. Donations may be mailed to: Community Foundation of Western Nevada 1885 South Arlington Avenue Suite 103 Reno, NV 89509 Please reference "SMS Compassion Fund"
(The Associated Press also contributed to this report.)
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:43 PM EST2014-03-07 00:43:15 GMT
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