On Friday morning I was putting together my thoughts for a post about the death of the Big East Conference. A once proud and dominating conference was tearing itself apart. But before writing I had a few errands to run. And so at 9:45 I got in my car to drive to my cousin’s home about 10 minutes away east on Route 34.
While driving on Rte 34 a Connecticut State Police cruiser flew by me travelling west at what seemed like 100 miles per hour. Crazy, I thought, there must have been a car accident nearby. Then another cruiser, and another, and three more. All forcing me to pull over on a narrow two lane highway. At that point I realized that this was not just a bad accident but a terrible, probably life threatening one. When I arrived at my cousin’s place he informed me that there was a possible shooting at a school in Newtown, 7 miles west on Rte 34. As the day unfolded more and more reports on the shooting surfaced. The first report was that one person was shot in an elementary school, injured with a gunshot to the leg. Then came the report of a school principal and psychologist killed. Having been a teacher for 37 years and attended many PPT meetings I remembered many parents becoming irate about programs outlined for their child. I assumed that some parent must have done this, and the two administrators were attacked in the heat of a meeting. But what about the teacher? A student’s teacher always attended a PPT meeting with the principal and psychologist.
As more reports were released it was obvious that I was way offbase in my thoughts….. 14 kids shot…. a teacher shot….. now 18 students killed. How could this be in Newtown? The town next to us. Many of my friends live in Newtown. 26 dead in the school…. Lockdown….. brought back so many memories of my teaching days. I remember the lock down drills….. close the door….. doors lock automatically from the outside…. cover the windows….. turn off the lights…. huddle the children in a corner not visible….. SILENCE !!!!! Don’t answer the door even if they say they are police…. I couldn’t believe it…… still can’t.
I haven’t been able to watch any basketball this weekend. Haven’t thought much about the future of the Big East. It’s really not that important. I have been glued to the television this weekend. But all I keep seeing is stories about these poor little first graders. They have no future. And the teachers…. so young…. so professional…. lost their lives to protect their kids….. They have no future.
When I retired five years ago I had a nice chat with my Superintendent of Schools. She said she was jealous that I was retiring and she still had to get up for work the next morning. She wished me well. You see my Superintendent was a woman named Janet Robinson. Janet is now the Superintendent of Schools in Newtown. She looks devastated in the interviews I have seen her do on tv. My heart goes out to Janet and all her staff and students in the Newtown school district. Maybe next week I will feel like writing about basketball again. Maybe not. It’s really not that important.