Words do so little to bring perspective to a tragedy, which in reality, words cannot describe. Early reports indicate 27 lives were ended Friday at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school – including 18 children.
It’s times like these that parents hug their children a little tighter, and others collectively contact their loved ones to share a reassuring word. And in the light of yet another mass shooting in the United States, a community of 35,000 reacts.
“I sat at my desk and have been weeping most of the day. I work alone, thankfully. My heart breaks for those families; my nerves are ruined from fear of something like that happening to my own child,” said Patch reader Stephanie Chevallay. “I'm just sick over this, and I plan on hugging my son until my arms fall off the second I see him.”
Naturally, parents with students at schools across the nation can’t help but wonder, “What if it happened here?”
Falls Superintendent Dr. Patricia Greco – like the entire community – felt words didn’t exist to describe Friday’s events. However, she did reassure the community that teachers and administrators prepare to keep everyone safe in the event of a crisis.
“We have a very close working relationship with our police department. The police chief met with all of our administrators at the start of the school year. The principals in turn met with their teachers as the school year started,” Greco said. “Our liaison officers serve our schools very well. Again, we are fortunate and do not take our partnerships for granted.”
Greco said they also have measures in place to help students after a tragedy of any sort occurs. However, the residents of Menomonee Falls are the biggest support group of all.
“A car accident involving students, staff or student illnesses, or an unusual incident. Kathy Zarling our director of pupil services is working with the pupil services team members here to keep our processes current. These efforts are ongoing.” Greco said. “An incident of this scale will require the entire community to come together. No one would expect that process to be easy for the community of Newtown.”
People around the country, glued to their televisions and computers, will continue to receive updates as they are available in the days ahead. Some will debate gun laws, some will question what causes evil, some will pray, and others will simply shed tears. However, in the face of darkness, others choose to search for light.
“It's horrific and it shouldn't have happened. However, behind every tragedy, there are always amazing people who care and help,” said Falls resident Becca Levine. “Think about this: There are up to 30 dead, but hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions who are helping by being on the scene, reporting the news, hugging their own loved ones a little tighter, sending prayers, sending money or clothing or food.”
Levine pointed to a quote from Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." - Fred Rogers
As the global community continues to keep its collective gaze on Newtown, you can follow the latest updates by visiting our Patch partner in Newtown. Please share your thoughts on Friday's tragedy in the comments below.