By Doug Keeler
Midway Driller Editor
The Taft Union High School District is going to continue to offer counseling services for students to help them deal with the on-campus shooting of a classmate in January for another year.
The district's Governing Board, following the recommendation of Superintendent Blanca Cavazos, voted 4-0 last week to extend a contract with two counselors though June of 2014.
The school is also starting to plan for how it will mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting of student Bowe Cleveland on Jan. 10.
"I think its very critical that we do not let that day go unnoticed, but that we take control of it," Cavazos said. "That day took control of us."
She said she has heard from students concerned about how to deal with the anniversary of the shooting, which traumatized the school and the community, thrusting it into the national spotlight.
"Students, especially, have concerns about what we are going to do next year on that date," Cavazos told the board.
Therapist Timothy Hardy and counselor Dr. Norman Wright have both been meeting with Taft High students and staff in the aftermath of the shooting and Cavazos said their work isn't done.
Hardy has had a total of 87 counseling sessions with students and staff, and Wright has had 187 student contacts, made classroom presentations and an "untold number of staff contacts," Cavazos said.
On the day of the shooting, student Bryan Oliver allegedly took a shotgun to school and shot Cleveland in the chest in a classroom on the second floor of the science building.
He also allegedly threatened another student before was disarmed and subdued by teacher Ryan Heber and campus security officers Kim Fields and Mary Miller.
Cleveland was critically injured but survived.
Oliver, still a juvenile, is being charged as an adult and faces two counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
He is being held in custody on $1.5 million bail.
He is scheduled to appear in court on June 21 for a hearing on several motions, including on to be released on his own recognizance.
His preliminary hearing is set for July 9.