No attendance drop in Berkshire County schools


Undoubtedly it was difficult watching their children board the buses, but by and large, Berkshire County parents sent their sons and daughters to school Monday.

Friday's school shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., seemed not to have daunted local parents to the point they chose to keep their children home, according to area school officials.

Gordon Noseworthy, Pittsfield's interim school superintendent, said he and other administrators visited city schools on Monday and found no obviously high rates of absenteeism. He'll be able to confirm Monday's attendance figures when they are finalized today.

Noseworthy said school officials took a proactive approach to assure parents and students that city schools are safe and security procedures are in place and understood. The school system issued an automated phone call to alert parents to that on Saturday.

Also, the weekend may have served to calm nerves, according to Noseworthy.

Lee Public Schools had "pretty good" attendance on Monday, according to Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless.

"Although, I could certainly understand if some were absent," he said.

Friday's shootings didn't deter a Lee Elementary School student play that evening. School officials felt the show should go on.

"The kids spent weeks rehearsing and a good number of the really young ones weren't fully aware of what happened," McCandless said. "We felt the kids needed to go on stage with their performance."

At the Central Berkshire Regional School District, Superintendent William J. Cameron Jr. said he didn't have specific data on absenteeism throughout the district's six schools on Monday, but said it didn't appear to be out of the ordinary.

"I visited all six schools," he said. "No principal mentioned anything about abnormal absenteeism. It appears it was the same as on the other days."

Four of Central Berkshire's schools are elementary.

Attendance at Southern Berkshire Regional School District was consistent with other days in the school year, according to school officials there. The district includes Mount Everett Regional High School in Sheffield.


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