Area parents react to school shooting in Connecticut

December 14, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • Rita Wolfe
By Caleb Calhoun/Mobile Journalist

Security was on the mind of Smithsburg resident Becky Kugler, who was picking up her 9-year-old daughter Riley from Emma K. Doub Elementary School on Friday.

 Kugler wondered how the man who opened fire Friday inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked as a teacher gained entry to the school.

“How did he get in? It’s always very scary when somebody does this at a school,” said Kugler, 35, who teaches at North Hagerstown High School.

She said if her daughter “asked me questions, I would reiterate some safety rules with her, but I wouldn’t bring this up.”

“Everybody is aware of how bad our world is, and nowhere, not even your backyard, is safe,” said Jennifer Green, 31, of Greencastle, Pa., who was picking up her two children at Emma K. Doub.

“If I could home-school my kids, I would,” Green said. “Everywhere is getting worse and worse.”

“If it could happen at a grade school it could happen anywhere,” said Tom Hyme, 59, of Hagerstown, who was picking up his 7-year old grandchild at Bester Elementary School. “It’s something you don’t think will happen to you.”

Sandy Gilmer, 37, of Hagerstown, heard the news about the shooting as she was in her car getting ready to pick up her daughter at Bester Elementary School.

She worried about her daughter’s reaction to the Connecticut shooting.

“I’m not sure what to say to her because she values every life, so she’s going to be devastated about it,” she said.

Lewis Berry, 39, of Hagerstown, was picking up his 10-year old and two 7-year-olds from Bester Elementary School. He said he believed it was important to be honest with his children about the news to keep them aware of what could happen.

“You can only talk about it because you don’t know what the next person’s going to do,” he said. “That could happen anywhere at any given time.”

Melissa Gettel of Hagerstown, who was picking up her niece at Bester Elementary School, said her children go to Broadfording Christian Academy and it is her hope they can avoid tragedies such as Friday’s shooting.

Nicole Ruark, 38, of Hagerstown, who was picking up her 7-year old daughter, Kenna, from Emma K. Doub, referred to what happened as a “society problem.”

“My concern would be for gun control,” she said. “I feel like schools are doing what they can. This was probably a very sick individual.”

Hagerstown resident Ricky Stoner, 52, said he would be truthful about the shooting when talking to his two 10-year old grandchildren.

“I try to be honest with them about what’s around you and that you always have to be on your guard,” he said.

He said he believed, “We need more gun control, and security around the schools.”

Rita Wolfe of Hagerstown, who was picking up her daughter at Emma K. Doub on Friday, described as “incomprehensible” a shooting at an elementary school.

“You hear about it happening in high schools, and although it’s shocking, it’s hard to even grasp and comprehend a shooting at an elementary school,” she said.

“As far as talking about these type of occurrences to my children,” she said, “I try to really just brush the surface of the conversation, saying that although most people in this world are really good-hearted people, there is that element of really nasty evil people that live on this earth.”

Steven Seaward, 36, of Hagerstown, who was picking up his 10-year old daughter, Summer, from Emma K. Doub addressed school security as an area of concern.

“If I have to come and visit at the school or I’m here for a meeting or something, they do a pretty good job of making sure who I am, and you have to buzz in,” he said. “I just feel for the parents in this situation. If it were here, I don’t know how I would react.”

Hope Covert, of Hagerstown, who was also picking up her 10-year old son from Emma K. Doub Elementary School, said it’s hard to explain such things to children when teaching them about safety.

“You tell your kids to be safe and not to be bullied, but how do you tell them not to be bullied by somebody with a gun?” she said. “And it was an adult. They don’t know how to deal with that.”

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