WARREN - City schools Superintendent Michael Notar said that when he heard about the Sunday morning crash in which several of his students were killed, his initial thought was to close school on Monday - longer if needed.
However, after speaking with counselors and school staff, Notar said he and other administrators at Warren City Schools agreed it would be in the best interest of everyone to hold classes as scheduled.
"We felt it was important to keep the doors open and to be here for our students, staff, the community and to offer any help that we can," Notar said.
''We wanted to do what we can to help everyone get through this. We had our staff at each of the schools there for the students as they came through the doors this morning.
''Some of the siblings of the victims came today (Monday). They needed that support. They needed each other, other students and teachers, to provide support they might not get if we closed the doors,'' Notar said.
Some students were too upset to take the Ohio Graduation Test scheduled to start Monday, while others used it as a distraction, Notar said. He said the district is making adjustments for students as needed.
Notar, along with Lt. Brian Holt, commander of the Ohio State Patrol's Warren Post, Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and Valley Counseling Ed Bolino, who is also a former school board member, addressed reporters at a news conference Monday morning.
Later, Notar and Holt also spoke to students during an assembly at Warren G. Harding High School.
"We just want to caution everyone not to speculate and to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to get everyone as many answers about this as possible," Holt said. "This is a very sad time."
Notar lowered his head often, wiping away tears, first as he spoke to news reporters Monday morning and later as he tried to encourage students at the high school. He said the district had received a tremendous amount of support from other area school superintendents offering to send counselors and administrators from their own staffs to help.