As we all try to process the unthinkable tragedy that took place in Newtown, Conn. on Friday that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the news devastated me not only as a person but as a former educator.
Taking great pride in my five years as a fifth grade teacher, I struggle to find words to respond to such a heinous act. When I was teaching, we would conduct lockdown drills several times a year and I would always have at least a few students — older than the ones at Sandy Hook, mind you — who would grow uneasy, even though they were fully aware that we were only conducting a drill. As we gathered in a corner of the room with the classroom door locked and the lights off, I would always reassure my kids by saying there was a 99.9 percent chance that we’d never need to do this because of a dangerous situation, but we needed to be prepared just in case.
The thought of that 0.1-percent scenario actually playing out breaks my heart as I found myself thinking about the hundreds of students I worked with over the years. Though not a parent myself, I can only pray I’ll never have to experience the pain the parents and families directly affected in Newtown are feeling right now.
We all have memories of our days in school with some of our experiences more positive than others, but it’s my hope that we felt safe in the classroom. Sadly, with school shootings becoming more rampant in recent years, this feeling is crumbling when such monstrosities can even be carried out against a kindergarten class.
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, cousin, godparent, neighbor, or friend of a young child, the mere thought of kindergartners going to school in the morning and never coming home again is too much to take. As for the teachers and staff members who did everything in their power — even losing their lives in some cases — to try to protect innocent children, their efforts will not go unappreciated in my eyes.
I’m sure I speak for everyone in the WNST.net circle in saying our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted.
With the details of the tragedy just beginning to unfold as the media met with Ravens players early Friday afternoon, it was too soon to receive any direct reaction. However, numerous players — some of them having children of a similar age to the victims — have commented on the massacre using social media. Here is a sampling:
(Editor’s note: These messages were collected via players’ verified accounts on social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. Their words, punctuation, and sentence structures are unedited with the acknowledgement of errors being present.)
Ray Lewis: “We must wake up, the time is now evil is now attacking our kids. Lord please show us another way, why so much silence when so much pain exists everyday. We must come together, lets not let this be just another Tragedy. The only way to do it is together, if it takes a village to raise 1 child then it’s gonna take everything we have to save our children. Lets start having real conversation to make our world a better place. Lord my Prayer today is please help thru this Storm. Me and my family will be Praying for the entire Sandy Hook Elementary School, you’re not alone.”
Ray Rice: “My prayers go out to all the families in Connecticut who lost a loved one today.”
Torrey Smith: “Our world is crazy..Prayers up for those effected by the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. People who do crazy things like this shooting always take the easy way out”
Jameel McClain: “Crazy world..stop the violence!!”
Michael Oher: “My heart goes out to the families involved in this devastating tragedy…My thoughts and prayers are with you. May God be with us all.”
Tandon Doss: “Man what’s wrong w the world …I don’t understand how u can take someone else’s life .. But prayers up to all involved”
Brendon Ayanbadejo: “As a father of 2, 1 in elementary school I will not stop voicing safety for my family and fellow citizens”
Bryan Hall: “My heart and prayers go out to all families of this horrific event that happened in Connecticut….”