Local Students Filled With Questions over Conn. Shootings

Updated: 12/18/2012 7:59 AM KSTP.com By: Chris Egert

Anxious - a little nervous - and filled with questions.

That's what we are hearing from some local teachers tonight about the first day back to class for students after the shootings in Connecticut.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was invited to Hopkins West Junior High to hear from the kids themselves -- after days spent worrying about what to tell them, and how to protect them from the cold, hard, reality of what happened in Newtown.

Monday, a majority of the conversations in Kim Campbell's 7th grade social studies classroom were about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Campbell said, “What I noticed was that they were totally engaged - listening to each other - listening to my responses."

Campbell - just named middle level educator of the year in Minnesota -- admits she was nervous to show up for class -- not knowing exactly what her students would say.

One question in particular -- rattled the veteran teacher.

"It was just an honest question by a kid that asked -- would you Ms. Campbell protect us, if somebody came in?" 

She responded as honestly as she could, saying, “I hope I would."

Student Hanna Reinke told us, “It was just so sad, I feel terrible for them."

Classmate Didi Orakwue commented, “It is kind of depressing in a way."

But Campbell says her students had pointed questions about the school crisis plan.

Most said that in the past, they joked and laughed during security drills.

We asked: “did you take the lock downs seriously before?” and two girls responded, “Not really.”

All admitted to us they'd never even thought about violence in school until Friday.

Student America Lara said, “It is so different thinking that it might happen at any time, any place."  

We asked all the students if they were tired of adults continuing to bring up the shootings?

They said they weren't necessarily sick of talking about it -- but that they'd also like to talk about other -- more pleasant things.