WAUKESHA, Wis. — Students and teachers in Waukesha returned to classrooms Monday, one week after a man sped his car into the crowd at the city's Christmas parade, killing six people.
The first day back was expected to be an emotional day, but school leaders also recognized it as an important one in the healing process. Knowing that families were preparing the night before, the district sent out a message on Facebook saying, we will make it through this together and we will support each other along the way.
One parent, Christopher Lambert, said he was more excited than apprehensive as he dropped off his daughter on Monday morning.
"Having everyone, a support group, you know -- everyone who has kind of gone through similar things, yeah, that's a big help."
Some students said they were happy to be reuniting with friends but were also feeling a wave of emotions.
"Well, emotional -- because I don't really know how everyone is doing and I don't know how today is going to be," said Brianna Reimer, a junior at Waukesha South High School. "I want to check in on my teachers and see how they're doing," she continued. "And maybe talk to a couple of my friends that I don't really talk to outside of school."
Others students said it helps to simply know that support is available, and they can speak to a counselor if needed.
"I might if things get rough throughout the day," said Hailey Metzdorf, a freshman at Waukesha South High School.
Additional school counselors, social workers, and psychologists from neighboring school districts will be on hand. They'll be at each building to help students who are having difficulty processing what happened.
The district says the need for extra support will be assessed daily to make sure there is enough available in the days and weeks ahead.