Parents, schools and community members are in shock as they see news reports coming in from Connecticut where a man in his 20s gunned down 27 people at an elementary school.
Eighteen children waved goodbye to their parents at the start of the school day. Their parents won’t get to hold them, wipe their tears away, won’t take pictures of them at prom, won’t see them at graduation. The man who killed according to Newtown, CT Patch. A second suspect is in custody.
Parents at Sandy Hook Elementary School have been contacted and they are waiting for updates about their children. Schools across the country have notification systems where they can quickly reach parents in emergency situations, including in Waukesha.
The Waukesha School District has a phone chain and email notification system to reach out parents during school lockdowns. Typically the notification is to keep the parents informed that everyone is safe in the school during emergency situations.
“I am going to hope and pray that never has to happen,” Superintendent Todd Gray said about having to contact parents about a worse situation.
Gray sent out a letter to parents Friday stating “the School District of Waukesha continues to follow security measures designed to prevent these types of tragic occurrences.”
The shooter had ties to the elementary school, according to Fox 6. The shooter was targeting his mother, who was a teacher at school, according to Newton Patch. The man killed his mother and her kindergarten students.
While Waukesha schools have secured access and visitors need to be buzzed into the buildings, typically parents and other community members are allowed to enter the building for meetings.
Gray declined to say what other security measures are in place under advice from the Waukesha Police Department.
“That is just a horrible situation,” Gray said about the Connecticut shooter’s apparent ties to the school. Early reports indicated the shooter was a parent, however, those reports were unconfirmed. “If that is the case, then what is our next step? I don’t know that we are ready to put a metal detectors in front of all our doors.”
Gray will meet with law enforcement officials to determine what can be done to keep school buildings safe for students and teachers. The schools are public buildings and the district does not want to lock parents out of the schools, Gray said.
“Right now, we do a good job of securing our buildings,” Gray said. “That is our role. I expect that to be followed.”
Meanwhile, Waukesha schools, churches, organizations and businesses have been expressing reactions to the horrific news via social media:
- “Our hearts are with the victims and their families of the Connecticut school shooting. Be kind to one another. Peace and love to all.” – Carroll University.
- “Our prayers are with Sandy Hook Elementary School today. ♥” – Waukesha Catholic School System
- “We offer our loving prayers and thoughts to the grieving families and classmates of the Connecticut mass shooting victims. It is simply heartbreaking.” – Rochester Deli
- “Elmbrook, will you join me in praying for the victims of the Connecticut shootings?” – Elmbrook Church