Local board, superintendent respond to Connecticut shooting

FLINT TWP. — The township board opened its Monday night meeting with a moment of silence and prayer for the 20 children and six adults shot to death last Friday by a disturbed 20-year-old gunman who blasted his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said she also came to the township hall last Friday, when offices are normally closed, to lower the flag to half mast in tribute to the victims.

After the moment of silence, trustee Frank Kasle read a prayer that he said had been read to his congregation on Sunday,

Written by Rabbi Menachem Creditor of California, A Prayer in Wake of a School Shooting was written a day after the shooting “in mourning and solidarity with the community of Newtown, Connecticut.’

It can be heard in its entirety in the meeting video posted on the township’s website but reads in part: God, Your children and teachers are dead and wounded. Our souls are burning with anguish. Until When, God? How long must we fear?

You have given us the tools of progress, and we wield them to hurt.

We have not done what we can. We could have saved precious lives by changing our ways and we have not. Your children, our children, dead and wounded.

We ask You, God for the strength to face what numbs us, the strength to hear the screams, the resolve to not let our vulnerability make us feel powerless.

We are not.

Dear God, this hurts so much. Teach us, Guide us, Make us save each other.

In God’s Name, and in the name of those souls we have lost, remember that comforting each other might come first, but the need will come again if nothing changes.

We can master this evil.

May this world know no more hatred and violence.

May people live in peace.

Carman-Ainsworth Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff also responded to the tragedy with a letter or reassurance to parents.

Speaking as a parent and school leader, Tunnicliff said, “As a parent of school-aged children, my heart dropped when I heard of this news. As a superintendent, I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to ensure that we provide the safest environment possible for all our children at school.”

He went on to say that C-A schools have comprehensive District and Building Crisis Plans that have been reviewed by law enforcement and school safety experts.

“We regularly practice school safety drills with students and staff to ensure that they are familiar with such plans,” he said. “Furthermore, we employ two full-time School Resource Officers who work closely with all of our school building personnel as well as the Flint Township and Mundy Police Departments.

As same as all schools in Genesee County, C-A works with the county Sheriff’s Department to review existing safety plans and ensure that they too are part of a collaborative approach to school safety, he said.

He stressed concern with providing a safe emotional environment in addition to a safe physical environment for C-A students.

To that end, he and C-A administrators visited all schools buildings on Monday to gauge how students were responding to the Newtown tragedy.

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