H-SANTA MARIA

Dec 15, 2012 10:00 PM by Hope Hanselman, KSBY News

Local school officials reassure safety on campus

People all over the world are remembering the victims of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. But, the news resonates on a special level with those who work in schools across the country.

Some local school officials used the words, "shocked", "sick" and "angry" to describe hearing the news of the tragedy. They also say it's a time to pull together as a community.

A fundraiser for a local high school baseball team was doing just that Saturday afternoon, and it was helping to build back a sense of safety.

"We're trying to raise as much money as we can to get these kids all the equipment we can," Kurt Mason, school teacher and baseball coach, said.

School spirit is not in short supply around here. In fact, these baseball players are cooking up something stronger than their Spartan mascots.

"It's something that keeps them interested, and besides the academics, it's something good that gets them involved with school and makes them a part of the community," Brian Zimmerman, principal at Fesler Jr. High School, said.

At this Orcutt Academy baseball fundraiser, ten bucks will buy you a chicken dinner. But, Coach Kurt Mason says just showing up is more valuable.

"Santa Maria is a smaller community," he said. "We really do look out for each other."

Off the field, Mason looks out for his students in the classroom. Eighteen years of teaching will give you some perspective on teamwork.

"We're very well trained on looking for signs and paying attention to mood swings of the highs and lows of students."

So, when a tragedy strikes, these educators call a huddle to settle our differences and to find safety in one another.

"We can sympathize, I believe, with these people," Zimmerman said. "We know how valuable our kids are and we can empathize with them."

And that might be enough to raise the spirits for us all.

Mason says teachers who receive degrees in California have some of the best training in the country.

He says he hopes parents will take comfort in knowing that.

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