|Schools Strive for Normal
Day after Attacks |
Capital News Service
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001
ANNAPOLIS - Administrators tried to get state schools back to
normal Thursday following Tuesday's terrorist attacks, but no one could
get them out of their minds.
"It was the same, but everybody wanted to talk about what
happened," said Stella Pelekanos, a junior at Annapolis High School,
which like many schools in the state closed early Tuesday after hijacked
planes crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
The incidents have sharply changed student attitudes, some said.
Often, teens would not stand when the Pledge of Allegiance was recited,
said William Vollono, an Annapolis senior. "Today, we didn't have any
problems," he said.
Teachers focused on their usual curriculum, although discussion
arose in several classes, particularly because the attacks affected some
students personally, students said. By this time, Pelekanos said, her
worries have calmed, although her parents have a friend who is missing at
"I was scared, everyone was scared," she said. "They
[parents] haven't heard from him, so they're assuming he's
Six schools on Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County were the only ones
statewide closed Thursday because of new security restrictions on the base
that would have caused gridlock. Only Meade High School will be open
Some schools closed after Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening
declared a state of emergency following the attacks. The declaration gave
school districts the discretion to close. It expired Thursday.
Administrators attempted to ease classes back into a usual routine.
At the same time they provided counseling sessions to help students
affected by the tragedy.
At Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, students were playing
football and Frisbee outside during lunch, while counseling sessions went
on inside. "We're trying to get back to normal," said Principal
Jerome Marco. "Now is the time to come together and get on with our
Six students attended the counseling sessions held during lunch at
the 1,700-student school, Marco said. "When we talked to students,
they felt pretty talked out about it," he said. "I think
students are trying to get back into their normal routine."
Teachers briefly talked to their students about the attacks in the
morning, but not much time was set aside for discussion during the day at
Forest Knolls Elementary in Silver Spring, said Principal Carolyne Starek.
And, she said, "Teachers are not playing the TV in class."
At that school and others, administrators sent letters explaining
to parents how to handle the situation with their children. Among the tips
given: discuss the events with children, monitor their intake of news
coverage and talk about how they could help each other in the coming
Staff and county mental health workers trained in grief counseling
were stationed at Montgomery County public schools. Some district
officials briefed teachers before the school day started about how to
handle student discussions.
Vollono said teachers kept the atmosphere calm during the day.
"We spent time talking about the issues going on," he said.
"Everybody's concerned, but I think we'll be OK. It's just going to
take some time."
Vollono's mother, Mary, said her worries about her five children
have subsided. "He's safe here [at the school]," she said.
"It's proved itself a safe environment. I think we're in a safe area
of the state."
Top of Page | Home Page
Copyright © 2001 University of Maryland College of