Lansing Schools and Students Respond To Murders

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On Tuesday morning, Lansing school officials held an emergency meeting to discuss how to deal with the fact that Assistant Principal Anthony Dixon had killed two people and then himself.

"We went over concerns we have for our kids in the school district to make sure when they come back to school on January 8th that nothing will get in the way of their educational process," says Joel Maatman, director of Public Safety for Lansing Schools.

The district is on break right now, but Maatman knows word of the murders will spread as people get back into town, and more and more families will have questions and grief.

"A lot of people are affected by this [situation], not only the families [are] directly affected, but also people in the school district," Maatman says.

People like Garnder Middle School 8th Grader Qamenia Cole and her mother, Carmede Jackson. They both worry about the impact of the murders on the students. "It's gonna’ hit really hard for a lot of students," Jackson says.

It was no different for her daughter. "At first, I didn't believe it. My friends had to tell me twice before I believed it," Cole says.

Parents of students at both Gardner and Otto Middle Schools (Dixon had worked at Otto until this year) will soon receive a letter notifying them of the situation so their students won't be surprised when they return to school.

However, Jackson says the letter is futile; she says a meeting before school resumes would be more useful. She hears from her daughter that students are in need of guidance now, and that January 8th may be too late.

"We don't want to wait that long," says Cole.

Maatman adds that grief counselors will be available for students when they return, "So when kids come back on the 8th, we'll be prepared," he said.

Preparing for reaction to something no one was prepared for will be the biggest challenge for the school in the New Year.