WAUKESHA, WI — Monday marked a soft return to class for Waukesha students and teachers after the tragic events on Nov. 21 during the Waukesha Christmas parade.
The district says a "substantial" number of students are already utilizing mental health resources. As of 1 p.m. on Monday, an estimated 250 students have already spoken to the mental health experts on hand. The School District of Waukesha said it plans to keep the resources handy if there’s a need.
"We’ve had kids, the bumps and bruises, and some things like that,” said Dr. Joe Koch, Deputy Superintendent, School District of Waukesha
The district said it has 75 psychologists on hand for anyone who needs them.
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The need has been great. About 25 counselors come from other districts to help the 50 counselors already on staff.
On social media, the district posted a welcome back message. Parents in the comments posted messages of encouragement, wishing the educators support as they work through the circumstances.
“We had a number of various aged kids that, not only had injuries, (but) our staff saw things and parents (saw things) that human eyes should never have to witness,” Dr. James Sebert, Superintendent of Schools, said.
After a very divisive year in the Waukesha education community, TMJ4 News asked Dr. Sebert if he believes this tragedy can bring together a community that is Waukesha Strong.
“If we can harness the type of truly deep collaboration that we’re seeing in the community, I think there are very bright and brighter days ahead for all of us,” he said.
The district said it plans to re-evaluate its approach to this return as the week goes on and students begin to re-acclimate.