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Posted at 9:20 AM ET, 04/19/2010

Shaw students mourn slain principal

By Washington Post editors

UPDATED:

Shaw Middle School students returned to class Monday, the first day back in class since school principal Brian Betts was discovered shot in his Silver Spring home Thursday night.

The front of the school has become a makeshift memorial, with roses, notes and candles on the stairs up to the main entrance and chalk inscriptions covering the sidewalks and doors.

"We Love You Mr. Betts It's Not the Same With Out You," was written on the door in pink.

principal

A door at the middle school. (Gerald Martineau/Post)

On the sidewalk on the way from the U St. Metro station: "Shaw Students: Keep Ya Heads Up."

principal

Words of support for faculty members written with chalk on the sidewalk. (Gerald Martineau/Post)

Students and staff embraced on their way in; several staff members appeared to have been crying as they made their way past the large group of TV vans and cameras assembled in front of the school.

principal

Post-it notes express mourning for Betts. (Gerald Martineau/Post)


"He was something like a father to me," said Daamontae Brown, a ninth grader. "He helped me when I needed help," but the school will "keep moving forward."

An English teacher who got her first teaching job from Betts, Meredith Leonard, said she couldn't imagine the school without him.

"But being around the kids makes it easier," she said. "He would have wanted us to keep moving. It'll be okay."

The school planned to have a 45-minute staff and student meeting Monday morning where grief counselors will be available and everyone will talk about the tragedy. Grief counselors will also be in classrooms throughout the day, and there will be designated rooms around the school where both students and staff can grieve in private.

This week was supposed to be given over to DC-CAS testing, and Betts in his final days at the school was leading a major push to prepare for the exams. But after his death, Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee rescheduled them for a later date.


Shaw students mourn principal
8:23 a.m.

It's Shaw Middle School's first day back in class since its principal, Brian Betts, was discovered shot in his Silver Spring home Thursday night, and the front of the school has turned into a makeshift memorial, with roses, notes, and candles on the stairs up to the main entrance and chalk inscriptions covering the sidewalks and doors.

"We Love You Mr. Betts It's Not the Same With Out You," was written on the door in pink.

On the sidewalk on the way from the U St. Metro station: "Shaw Students: Keep Ya Heads Up."

Students and staff embraced on their way in; several staff members appeared to have been crying as they made their way past the large group of TV vans and cameras assembled in front of the school.

-- Michael Birnbaum

By Washington Post editors  | April 19, 2010; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  DC  
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Comments

So sad this happened to a man who had such huge impact on these kids. I pray his staff and the parents can continue on with his legacy. The entire 9th grade class wanted to stay on at his school opposed to moving to high school. That says a lot about him and his staff. My prayers go out to his family and to the Shaw family.

Posted by: enewton | April 19, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

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