This weekend, students in the Casper College residence halls will be together, watching movies.

After Friday's double homicide and suicide tied to a school that doubles as the residents' home, college administrators planned a special weekend for the students “to keep them occupied and keep them together,” said Joanna Anderson, the college’s vice president of student services.

“We told them this was a time to support each other,” she said.

Approximately 489 students live in the halls, among a student body this semester of about 4,000.

Similar to most community colleges, the student body at Casper College includes many older and non-traditional students.

Counseling services were available to all students, faculty and staff on campus. Thus far, a slow stream has sought help.

In the dorms, the residents tend to be younger, in their late teens and early 20s, and away from home for the first time.

Anderson and other college administrators met with students about 2:30 p.m. Friday, approximately 5 1/2 hours after the violence erupted on campus. They shared everything they knew, assured them there was no threat and showed them where to find updates on the college’s website.

Students’ sense of safety didn’t seem to be shattered, Anderson said, probably because the act of violence was targeted and not random.

Teresa Wallace, Casper College’s director of counseling services, said that counselors were available, but not many students saw them.

“When students were allowed to leave campus, many of them did,” she said. “Most of them were concerned, I believe, about the fact that they were in that building. Some of them talked about being on a different floor and ‘Oh my gosh, this could have happened to me’ type of thing.”

To reassure them, Wallace and her team described all the safety measures and protocols on campus that worked.

For now, many students are in a period of shock, feeling confused and like the situation is surreal.

Counselors are planned for the weekend. It’s hard to predict if many students will come.

“For each person, it’s somewhat different in terms of responses to the situation,” Wallace said.

Flags at Casper College were at half-staff Friday evening.

Reach state reporter Laura Hancock at 307-266-0581 or at Follow her on Twitter: @laurahancock.


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