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EDITORIAL: School shootings must stop now

Hawley Elementary School class photo 2012. Catarina Da Rocha/Belmont Vision

The day had finally come for us fourth graders to meet with our senior citizen book buddies. I put on a pink dress and my mom put my hair into a side pigtail. As a kid, I loved to read, to sing, to dance. I loved to watch all the Barbie movies. I loved my family. My mom, my dad, my younger sister who was sitting in her classroom two floors below me. I loved my school and the people who sat with me in my fourth-grade classroom. But on the day of Dec. 14, 2012, our book buddies never came to Hawley Elementary School. Instead, all 23 of us 9-year-olds, in a classroom that faced the streets of Newtown, Connecticut, the place I grew up in, the place I loved, sat confused on the carpeted floor as we sat criss-cross apple sauce in complete silence. My teacher, Mrs. Attanasio, locked the door from the inside as she entered the classroom. She had a worried look on her face. I still don’t know if she realized exactly what was happening just a mile away from us, but she knew it was something bad and she wanted to protect us. The window shades were lowered, and the classroom once filled with light and hectic 9-year-old energy grew dark and still. While we sat in our dark, safe cocoon, a 26-year-old man entered Sandy Hook Elementary School a mile away and shot and killed 20 children and six adults. Ten years later, as I sat in McAfee Hall at Belmont University on March 27, watching my best friend perform her violin quartet concert, it happened again – to different students in a different state. Three 9-year-olds and three adults were shot and killed at the Covenant School just three miles from where I sat.

This article was written by Catarina Da Rocha

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