Aztec High School students, staff head back to class | KOB 4
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Aztec High School students, staff head back to class

Marian Camacho, Morgan Aguilar and Meg Hilling
December 18, 2017 06:17 PM

AZTEC, N.M. – Students and staff at Aztec High School returned to school Monday in the aftermath of the deadly shooting earlier this month.

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"It's pretty hard," Aztec High School sophomore said Javier Jim as he walked into school.

Students were given the option of not coming back until after Christmas break, but many of them chose to show up and be together instead. Freshman Kenny Hill said he returned Monday "to see all my friends and see everyone doing fine."

"Normalcy is a little bit different," added Aztec Municipal Schools Superintendent Kirk Carpenter. "You know kids are in different places, but what is nice and comforting is kids are on campus and they are acting like kids."

Community members lined the streets welcoming students back.

"Even though they're on a short schedule today, we wanted to make sure that they knew that we were all here for them," said Melody Myer, an Aztec High School alum.

Community members line the street welcoming students back for first day of class since deadly school shooting #AztecStrong @KOB4 pic.twitter.com/jBB99ZLQSn

— Morgan Aguilar (@MorganAguilar) December 18, 2017

Many cars headed to school were painted with both Casey Jordan and Paco Fernandez's names, as well as the words "Aztec Strong."

"It makes us love living here that this you know that we can come together like this and do what we can for these kids because they're the ones that went through it,"  said Jana Nelson, an Aztec High School alum who brought signs and stood out in the cold to welcome students back to school.

The day started with an all-school assembly at 8 a.m. Class periods were shortened Monday. There will also be an early dismissal.  At 5 p.m. students, parents, administrators and counselors attended an Aztec Strong meeting.

The school will be back on a regular schedule Tuesday and Wednesday, and counselors will be on hand both days.

The district and state understand that many students will not be ready to return to the school, so they have waived end-of-semester exams. Students have been told that they can wait until after the winter break to return to the school.

"They seem ready to be back," Carpenter said. "The message ... I gave to them was 'This is your school. No one's changing that. No act is going to change that.'"

Meanwhile, construction is ongoing at Aztec High School in the areas where the shooting took place. Workers will be turning the area into a Learning Lounge that will be dedicated to shooting victims Fernandez and Jordan.

"Our biggest thing we want to do is take care of kids, and that is what we are going to do," Carpenter said.

Credits

Marian Camacho, Morgan Aguilar and Meg Hilling

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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