Students walk the hallways again at Huntington Middle School. This is their first time back since the shooting at Heritage High School right next door.
Students at Huntington and Heritage have been learning remotely since the shooting. A re-entry plan has been created by the district focusing on school safety.
“Our staff has been trained; our security team particularly with security scans, quick checks for buses and for classrooms. There will be random metal detection upon entering the building as well,” Dr. Felicia Barnett, executive director of the Office of Secondary School Leadership, said.
If they need it, students at both schools will be able to meet with student support specialists, social workers and mental health therapists.
“We’re doing our morning meetings, where we’ll have certain topics that help provide coping strategies for students, help with discussion and also give our students the opportunity to provide input on their needs here at the school,” Barnett said.
One parent at Heritage High School says she feels comfortable seeing her son return to Heritage High.
“I taught in Newport news for 18 years, and one of the main things Newport News is a smart, safe school, and I feel nothing but safe having my son Archie, who’s a senior here at Heritage, return on Wednesday,” Rhonda Bell, a parent/educator said.
“‘Mom, I’m just ready to go back.’ He didn’t look at it from a safety aspect. He said, ‘Mom, I’m just ready to go back to school,'” Bell said.
Heritage High School students return Wednesday. A support hotline for those affected by the shooting can call 757-283-7868.