Parents say students recovering

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 9, 2008

Parents of students at an elementary school where a teacher was stabbed in front of her class said Friday that youngsters are recovering as they prepare to go back to class when the building reopens Monday.

Christi Layne’s fifth-grade students at Notre Dame Elementary School in Portsmouth saw Mike Layne barge into her classroom and stab his estranged wife Thursday morning, police said.

Ben Davis, whose 11-year-old daughter Trista is in sixth grade at the Roman Catholic school, said his daughter cried when she came out of the school Thursday but was doing fine Friday. He said she had attended a prayer service for the victims Thursday night with him and wife Tara.

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School is scheduled to resume Monday with grief counselors on hand, and Davis thinks it’s best to get the children back into their routine so healing can begin.

‘‘But I admit, I get a little nervous just thinking about it,’’ said Davis, 39.

William Michael Layne, 56, stabbed his wife, who had left him and filed for divorce, just minutes after stabbing Stephanie Loop, 22, who he was seeing, in an alley outside her nearby apartment, police said.

Later in the day, Layne put a shotgun in his mouth and killed himself during a standoff with police at his home. The critical wounds hospitalized the women, but police have said they both were stable.

Davis said he and his wife talked to their daughter about what had happened.

‘‘We tried to explain to her that sometimes there are bad people and people who make bad decisions, and that’s what this individual did,’’ he said, ‘‘and that he wasn’t there to harm them, but that he did harm someone.’’

Davis said his father called Thursday to tell him he’d heard there had been a shooting at the school.

‘‘I couldn’t breathe, and I don’t remember anything from the time I left my office until I got to the school and found out the children were all fine,’’ Davis said.

Christi Layne, 53, had left her husband, a retired city water works employee, and had filed for divorce on Jan. 25.