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Schools helping students cope with tragedy

By Jim Killackey

April 20, 1995

Schools and students from throughout the metropolitan area were affected directly and indirectly by Wednesday's tragic downtown explosion.

Several students and teachers at Oklahoma City's Emerson Alternative Center at 715 N Walker received minor cuts and abrasions, but no one was taken to the hospital. A few school windows were broken in the blast.

Emerson, about a half-mile from the site of the explosion, was closed and will remain closed today while the building is inspected for structural damage, said L.D. Barney, Oklahoma City school district spokesman.

The day-care center at Emerson will be closed through the rest of the week, Barney said.

The explosion did not affect any other district buildings, Barney said. He said school district counselors were sent first to Emerson and then to area hospitals on Wednesday.

A holding area was set up Wednesday afternoon at Oklahoma City's Wilson Elementary School for city public school students in grades kindergarten through 12 who 1 live within the area evacuated in the wake of the federal building blast.

Students who live in the area were picked up from Wilson, 2215 N Walker, by parents or guardians at the end of the workday. The area in question is bounded by Main Street on the south, Eighth Street on the north, Santa Fe Avenue on the east, and Walker Avenue on the west.

In Oklahoma City, all after-school activities Wednesday were canceled.

In Edmond, a special crisis intervention team assembled Wednesday at Memorial High School.

At Oklahoma City's U.S. Grant High School, meanwhile, Principal Bill Scoggan said, "We did have some staff and students who had relatives in the building. We had them together, and individually, in counseling and sharing sessions. "

At John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City, televisions were set up in the cafeteria so students could keep up with the bombing news during lunchtime.

Jerry Rickerts, principal of Putnam City West High School, said his school has a teacher whose mother crawled out of a window in the downtown federal building after the explosion.

"The kids have really been great and helped each other," he said.

Staff writer Amy David contributed to this report.

2005 The Oklahoman, NEWS 9 and Oklahoma City National Memorial.
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