Routine for Students and Teachers Returning to Normal in Fort Gibson

Wednesday, December 8th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Life is slowly returning to the normal routine in Fort Gibson. Counselors from Project Heartland, a federally-funded counseling program, talked with teens about their difficult experiences. Two days later, they were still hurting. There's no question, though, they're also healing.

It has been made easier by the parting of a sea of satellite news trucks and investigators, leaving some breathing room so the students can get back to a normal routine. "When students turned the corner Wednesday and saw that all of the trucks were gone, the students relaxed and were ready to get back in class with their teachers," said assistant superintendent Linda Clinkenbeard.

The students also came back to express, if not in words, the gravity and the emotion of a horrific week. Holiday cards make no mention of the shootings, just the healing. Get well wishes from classmates in shock flooded into the hospitals. And middle school principal Greg Phares is wearing the same blue ribbons many people in this town proudly display. "Tuesday afternoon they made several hundred of the ribbons," said Phares. "Today the kids are wearing them. The basic theme, from my understanding, is stop the school violence."

Clinkenbeard says she's exhausted, physically and emotionally. "God has provided us the strength and is giving us direction," she said. "That's the path that we're choosing." And the students are chooing to come back and move on. Attendance two days later, 98% or A+.