Believe it or not I went through a school shooting. It was not mass killings but a man killing his wife in what happen to be a school. I remember, do you?
The Principal remembers.
It was treated as domestic violence. You know, meh. Husbands kill wives. So what if they did it in a poor inner city school. Kids that no one cares for. no kids died. But still quite the trauma for me and my students.
The littel girl came running down the hall crying, "My daddy killed my momma!" She ran into her class room and ran back out when see saw a substitute teacher in the room. I ran after her to the office, where the door was being held shut as she tried to push her way in.
In the the office, her mother's brains were blown "grey matter everywhere. Gun smoke hung in the air in the hall. The hall was a hall of first and second grade kiddies.
I snatched her and took her back to the counselor's office on the third floor. He wasn't there that day. I went in and hugged her tightly covering her ears and the teachers in shock were crying, "OMG, brains were everywhere!!!" I didn't want to hear that, but covered her ears because they were talking about her mother. I whispered to her, "I think your Mother is dead, I am sorry." She said, "Yes I know, I saw it."
The school went into lock down but the school records were in the office so now not accessible to school staff.
Parents who heard the news on their police band radios, were screaming outside, "Let our kids go home!!" But we could not release them to non custodial parents. So we were grouping the siblings and older students were calling from teacher phones to get their little brothers and sisters home. Took all day to send 700 kids home to parents who were at work.
My students on the top floor looked down as the body was removed.
The girl whose mother was killed was reunited with her younger siblings and I took them and hid them in a room to wait for some family member to retrieve them. Finally the grandmother (mother to the shooter) came to collect them. Her mom was dead and her dad was the shooter. Well that was all the police needed, once Grandma showed up the police took the children to interview as they were witnesses.
We were on CNN for one day.
In the end it was decided that this was just a domestic shooting that hapend to be in a school. Nobody really cared.
7:44 AM PT: As coincidence is a strange thing, years later I went to a dinner in Seattle and sat at a table with Police Chief Gil Kerikowske who was police commissioner in Buffalo at that time of the shooting. We had a deep conversation and I could see it still bothered him. We both were still carrying the sadness of that day. It made me feel good to know he was not callous and was still toughed by the sadness.