Siem Reap School Reopens for End-of-Year Event

The Siem Reap International School will reopen today for an end-of-year ceremony that some hope will restore a semblance of normalcy for the students caught up in the June 16 hostage-taking that left a Canadian toddler dead.

The ceremony will mark the last week of the school year, which was put on hold by the recent tragic events, parents said.

Oliviero Rusconi, whose two sons attend the school, said they were not looking forward to going back.

Rusconi’s 6-year-old son es­caped early in the siege, but his 3-year-old son, Paco, was one of about 30 students taken hostage for approxi­mate­ly six hours and was then put aboard the van that police storm­ed to capture the hostage-takers.

Rusconi said Paco has been particularly worried about being left alone, though he was hopeful his son won’t have any problems re­turning to school.

Bernard Loyer, whose youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was also held hostage, said his two daughters were against going back to school until he told them he would be there too.

“I told them there are no bad guys and if there are bad guys, I’ll be there to take care of them,” he said.

Trauma specialist Jane Lopacka, who was in Siem Reap to work with some of the families, said it was time for the children to return.

“It’s only when they go back that we’ll know which students are ready to move on,” she said Sunday. “They need to go to basically face their fear.”

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