Counselors on hand as UAH resumes classes

By Elizabeth Gentle - bio | email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - It's the first day back in over a week for faculty and students at UA-Huntsville.

200 counselors were staged all over campus to help them deal with the shooting tragedy that left three professors dead and 3 more wounded.

It wasn't an easy day for many students and teachers. There were tears from some, blank faces from others.

There's a memorial near the student center, some who passed by couldn't even look at it.

Counselors say its going to take time to move forward.

How do students and teachers get back to so-called "normal" after a professor pulls a 9 millimeter gun and shoots 6 faculty members, killing 3 of them?

Leigh Miller with American Behavioral out of Birmingham is one of some 200 counselors contacted to help UA-Huntsville begin the healing process.

"Well there's shock and surprise and how to cope and what does it mean," Miller said.

Amy Bishop-Anderson, a professor of biology, is charged with capital murder and attempted murder.

Miller said people are coping in their own way, "confusion, shock, grief. There's survivors guilt."

"It's unexpected deaths vs. anticipated death. There's extra shock on the front end and no time to prepare," said Miller.

On their first day back students pass a memorial to those who lost their lives and even to the Bishop-Anderson family.

Red tulips line a path nearby.

And there's a sign with the words "charge on."

Bill Ritchey, a volunteer counselor from Virginia, said students want to move on.

"We've seen a lot of people who are ready to go get back on track get their life back in order. There's a lot of bravery courage students, faculty staff who are just trying to reclaim their lives come back to what ever is going to be normal coming forward," said Ritchey.

The UAH website has added counseling information for students, faculty and family.

It's provided by the UAH counseling center.

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