Students opened a new school year in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday, more than a week later than planned because of unrest in the community that erupted after teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. A spokeswoman for the school district said attendance was almost 95 percent and included some students who had not left their homes since sometimes violent protests erupted in the suburb two weeks earlier. "Many of these kids need counseling and coping skills," said Jana Shortt of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, adding that all employees were given special training and the number of counselors on duty was doubled. She said schools would be discussing the issues raised by the shooting.
"I hope this is the tipping point to get us back to — not where we were before because we won’t be there — but I hope we get to a new normal," said Lisa Chabot, who has one child in middle school and one in high school and is married to the school board president. Other than additional staff and some camera crews mulling about, "it looks like a typical first day of school," Chabot said. Ronald and Natasha Collins sent their 12-year-old daughter to classes and were relieved for the return to a routine. "It’s a great day," Ronald Collins said.
— Elisha Fieldstadt and Rick Brown
First published August 25 2014, 8:46 AM