When events like Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut happen anywhere in the nation, the emotional ripples course through every individual community, and Somerset is no different.
Officials at all of Pulaski’s public schools followed the disturbing news coming out of Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary throughout the day and all faced the same sobering realization: That could be us.
“My heart goes out to that elementary school,” said Steve Butcher, Superintendent of the Pulaski County School District. “You just can’t wrap your head around why stuff like that happens. We do everything we can to protect our kids, and I’m sure that school district (in Connecticut) did the same.”
Rick Walker, Science Hill Superintendent, declared it a “sad day” for everyone who knew about the tragedy.
“It makes me sick to my stomach,” said Walker. “I was talking to somebody whose mother called them a while ago. She was just sobbing, watching the kids being carried out in body bags. It makes you think and wonder and worry.”
Boyd Randolph, Somerset Schools Superintendent, offered prayers and sympathies to the families of those affected by the shootings.
“We’re in the child development business,” he said, referring to why Friday’s events hit so close to home. “That’s our product, our passion. It’s what we do, protecting and taking care of kids — that’s us.”
Another thing all the education leaders can agree on is that they’re doing what they can currently to help keep a similar situation from occurring here locally.
“We have readiness drills that encompass a variety of possible occurrences,” said Randolph. “These are things that are constantly being reviewed. The planning process never ends with this.”
That process includes sitting down with disaster and emergency relief personnel to discuss different scenarios and working with local health care providers to designate certain parts of the city schools as triage centers in case of a community crisis.