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Schools in Ferguson Area Prepare for an Emotional Opening Day

As schools in and around Ferguson, Mo., prepared to open, Tom Lawson, chairman of the social studies department of McCluer High School, planned to ask his students some very basic questions. “How are things going?” said Mr. Lawson, who teaches government to seniors. “What is there that I can do for you?”

Those innocent-seeming questions, typical for any first day of school, will carry special freight given the extraordinary local events of the last two weeks, when the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer triggered nights of protests and severe law enforcement response in Ferguson.