Clark Elementary students return to school, a crime scene

September 27, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Clark Elementary School administrators, teachers and volunteers sought to reassure students Sept. 26 as the campus reopened to students after a lethal shootout on school grounds days earlier.

Before students returned, police and maintenance personnel examined the campus for signs of the Sept. 24 shooting — bullet holes and such. The inspectors noticed a mark on the exterior of a portable classroom, but no other signs from the shootout.

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The incident occurred near the portable classrooms behind the main school building. Issaquah police fatally shot the gun-toting Maple Valley man.

Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen briefed teachers before the school day started. Then, the superintendent, school administrators and teachers greeted students as classes started.

“School is always a safe place for kids, so being in here and as quickly as we could get back into the normal routine makes them feel safe and forget about the things that happened,” Principal May Pelto said after the school day ended.

The school offered counseling to students. Educators sought out students involved in the incident — through sports teams on the adjacent fields at Issaquah High School — for special attention. Pelto also encouraged teachers to discuss the event in class.

“The teachers helped the kids transition in easily. We had extra parent volunteers out there to greet them in the morning,” she said. “It was just a great day.”

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