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'Our hearts are broken today'
Reaction to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday.
Jenn Markaryan, coordinator, Communications and Community Relations, North Kitsap School District: On behalf of the North Kitsap School District administrators, staff and School Board, we express our deep sadness and condolences to the families, school district and community in Connecticut. After the tragic events of this morning, all of us as parents and teachers are concerned about the safety of our children, physically and emotionally. It is our top priority to ensure that North Kitsap School District is a place where children are safe, happy and learning every day.
In North Kitsap, each of our schools has a comprehensive crisis plan and crisis intervention team that is prepared to go into action at any time. Each school conducts regular drills with students and staff and works closely with district administrators in order to be prepared. We also work closely with local law enforcement to stay current on the latest recommendations on these types of incidents. Additionally, we have counselors available daily for students, staff and parents to help address concerns. We are committed to ensuring a safe and positive future for our children at North Kitsap. If you would like to speak to someone, please contact the North Kitsap School District offices at (360) 779-8704.
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Gov. Chris Gregoire: Our hearts and unending prayers are with the community of Newtown and the people of Connecticut. This heartless act of violence is incomprehensible. All Washingtonians stand with me in expressing our profound sorrow and grief.
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National PTA President Betsy Landers: National PTA feels enormous sympathy for the students, families and communities affected by the horrendous tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., today. Our country has experienced far too many of these tragedies, and we all share in the sense of loss and hurt.
School and child safety is one of PTA’s core tenets as it is crucial to effective learning. A traumatic event like that of this morning affects the entire community, especially the families and friends of the victims. This can be an emotional time, and it’s important for people affected by this tragedy to connect with and support each other.
National PTA has many resources to assist students, families, schools and PTAs in coping with school violence. The resources are downloadable at PTA.org/SchoolViolence.
National PTA believes the protection of children in all school settings is a fundamental right and has made this the utmost priority for our work and advocacy.
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President Obama: This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.
We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.
As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans. And I will do everything in my power as President to help.
Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need — to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.
May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.
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HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDY IN NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, December 18, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
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Governor's office: Gov. Chris Gregoire has directed that flags at all Washington state facilities be lowered to half-staff today Friday, Dec. 14, as per President Obama’s proclamation as a mark of respect for the victims of today’s tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut.
Flags should remain at half-staff until sunset or close of business on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Other government entities, citizens and businesses are encouraged to join this recognition.
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Sen. Maria Cantwell: The tragedy in Connecticut today is heartbreaking Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims of this incomprehensible shooting. All Washingtonians — and all Americans — grieve for the senseless loss of innocent lives and for the community of Newtown.
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Jon Torgerson, principal of Suquamish Elementary School: “It’s a tragedy. It saddens all of us. It’s so distressing that something like that could happen.”
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Gary Stebbins, principal of Breidablik Elementary School: “My heart goes out to Connecticut and Sandy Hook.”