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Grayling Tobias

Grayling Tobias

The violence in Ferguson has prompted administrators in the Ferguson-Florissant School District to cancel all plans tonight for children at eight elementary schools to meet their teacher and visit classrooms. 

"We are heartbroken by the tragic events of recent days in and around the City of Ferguson," administrators wrote on the district website. "We are planning to receive and support our students when school begins this Thursday, and we look forward to working closely with our community to heal and rebuild."

All 17 elementary open house events are now planned for Tuesday night in Ferguson-Florissant. from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. McCluer High School’s New Student and 9th Grade Back To School Night will now be held Tuesday from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Administrators say they are reviewing security to ensure safety at the schools, as well as coordinating grief counseling.

"We're trying to be ready because students will need to talk about what's happened," said Jana Shortt, district spokeswoman.

Ferguson-Florissant dealt with racial tension last year after its School Board, which had no African-Americans represented, suspended its then-superintendent. Art McCoy, who is black, later resigned, a loss that angered many in the district. 

The Jennings School District called off its first day on Monday due to safety concerns for students who walk to school. Classes at Hazelwood schools began as planned, and Superintendent Grayling Tobias said there were extra police patrols at all of the buildings. Tobias asked principals, social workers and counselors to be extra visible today for students who needed to express their feelings.

"We want to be proactive and help our students take a calm, rational approach to the situation," he said. "It's kind of a balancing act. We want to focus on getting off to a good start. However, if kids need to process their feelings, we are going to be there for them."

On Sunday night in Ferguson, Hazelwood West High School journalism teacher Chris Holmes, 48, went to the scene of the protests and ended up near the looting near Quik Trip so he could better discuss with his students how to responsibly cover major breaking news. He was struck in the head by a brick. 

"I didn't expect to become part of the story," he said Sunday night with blood soaked gauze rapped around his head. He said he suffered an inch and a half gash. He was treated at the scene.

Riverview Gardens, Rockwood and St. Louis Public Schools held their first day of classes on Monday. Internet connections problems at Riverview Gardens schools made it difficult to determine how much of an impact Sunday's night's situation in Ferguson had on attendance, spokeswoman Melanie Powell-Robinson said. 

Some parents chose to escort their children walking on Monday morning to Koch Elementary, which is about a mile from where a Ferguson police officer shot 18-year-old Mike Brown, leading to protests and looting on Sunday night.

"We definitely think there are some families who are unnerved and opted out today," she said.

In a email to teachers on Monday morning, Rockwood Superintendent Eric Knost said the first day is exciting, but many were thinking of what was happening in Ferguson.

"Please keep in mind we will have a wide variety of reactions from students regarding this tense situation. Some students may be personally connected due to relatives/friends, while others may be emotionally drawn in because of family conversations," he wrote. "At minimum, we will probably have students who did not sleep much last evening due to the news coverage. We're not sure at this point if attendance will be impacted."

Jesse Bogan of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.