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School and police respond effectively

There are many more details the public wants and deserves to know about the horrible shooting Tuesday afternoon at Catherine Everett School in Modesto.

But we don't think it's too soon to offer some observations:

First, it appears that the school staff responded quickly and appropriately, ushering students to safety inside their classrooms.

Schools practice lockdowns two to four times a year, according to Modesto City Schools Superintendent Arturo Flores, and we agree with his assessment that everything indicates the teachers and other staff responded in textbook fashion.

Special acknowledgment should go to preschool teacher's aide Trent Greer and Principal Michael Brady.

Second, the Modesto Police response was immediate. All officer-involved shootings deserve serious review, but in this case, we think it's important to note that the officers had not only their own safety to consider but also that of hundreds of school children, some of them in classrooms very close by.

Third, we commend interim Police Chief Mike Harden, who went to the school Tuesday afternoon and again Wednesday morning, and to Flores, who joined Harden on Wednesday. Their presence demonstrated to parents, students and others how seriously this incident was taken.

Fourth, a few people suggested that Everett should have cancelled classes on Wednesday or even closed down early for the holiday break. Because everything was safe, we think it was far better for the students to be able to go back and to have access to professional counselors.

Finally, our sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Elizabeth Catherine Kropp, 43, who died in Tuesday's incident.

Police are investigating what led to Kropp going on to the campus, and school officials are reviewing campus access points, both crucial follow-up steps.

We urge both the police and the school district to be fully open about what they conclude from their investigation.

In the meantime, we believe they handled a tragic situation appropriately.

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