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Attacks Close Some Md. School Systems

By Justin Paprocki and Alan Brody
Capital News Service
Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001
; Web-posted 8 p.m.

ANNAPOLIS - Cars crowded streets outside St. Mary's Catholic School and parents greeted distraught children after several school systems in Maryland closed early in response to apparent terrorist attacks in New York City and the Washington area.

"The children are upset. The parents are upset," said Nick Pante, at the 
school to pick up his eighth-grade son, Saavas. "You can see some of the children crying."

Psychologists and pupil personnel workers will be available for grief-
stricken faculty and students, administrators in Baltimore and Charles County said. Also in Charles County, several middle and high school classes held 
discussions to help students express their reactions to the horrific news.

Airliners crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia and into the twin towers 
of New York's World Trade Center Tuesday morning. The loss of life is expected to be great.

Maryland State Department of Education officials directed all state 
schools to close at their discretion after Gov. Parris Glendening declared a 
state of emergency.

School districts statewide coordinated bus transportation for students to 
leave early, following an emergency plan similar to winter weather closings.
Some school districts opted to remain open, because many students would not 
have parental supervision.

"Local school districts should be careful in using this discretion, since 
many parents are tied up in traffic and will not be home immediately," 
Glendening said in a statement. "I urge all public school officials to use 
extreme caution in ensuring that children arrive home safely today."

Phyllis Dowd came to St. Mary's to pick up her son, but she said she 
wasn't too concerned about an attack being launched on Annapolis. "The greatest threat would be the Naval Academy, but I still feel good that all my kids are with me," she said.

Her son was upset. "Everybody is in a state of shock," said Brendan Dowd, a senior high school student at St. Mary's. "It's just crazy."

In Montgomery County, schools closed one and a half hours early; officials were urged to use caution while still in session.

"We are urging all our school administrators to use their judgment about 
outdoor recess and other activities," said Kate Harrison. "Most of our 
principals have expressed that they would like to keep students inside."

Carroll County schools closed two hours early after parents and 
students were notified. "We closed early out of respect and honor for the people who were killed or injured and the families that were affected by this horrible tragedy," said Charles Ecker, Carroll County Public Schools superintendent.

Among the school systems that also closed early were those in Prince George's, Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford and Baltimore counties.

Charles and Frederick County schools remained open.

 Copyright 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism


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