WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, Ohio (WCMH) – The mourning and grief continue after Tuesday’s mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, with the tragedy still on the mind of many in central Ohio.
One of those was the superintendent of schools in Washington Court House, who shared a letter to his staff and the community.
The letter from Washington Court House City Schools Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey was first shared with staff in the district, then the entire community.
Families in Washington Court House and other nearby districts said they relate to what Bailey wrote.
Bailey attended a high school baseball game Wednesday, but under the Blue Lions jacket he wore was a heavy heart for those in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers Tuesday.
“It affects us as educators because those kids, the faces of those kids could be the face of our kids,” he said.
The tragedy is affecting parents in the community as well. Taryn Fraley lives in Washington Court House, and has children who attend pre-K.
“It just made me sick to think about because I drop him off with teachers every day and I know it is a locked building, but people can get in and out, so I was scared to drop them off this morning actually, but we did it because it is locked, but I was nervous all day,” Fraley said.
As Bailey was watching coverage of the shooting Tuesday, he started thinking about his own community.
“They’re seven square miles, we’re five square miles,” he said, comparing Uvalde to Washington Court House. “They’re about 15,000 people, we’re about 14,000 people, so there’s not a more similar town to Washington Court House than where this took place yesterday and you think, ‘That could be us.’”
This is a point Bailey makes in his letter, writing, “We pray this type of tragedy never strikes another school in the future, but we know this world is broken and we must do what we can to fix it.”
He also puts an emphasis on the special role educators have in children’s lives and says it’s even more important in times like this.
“I want our people to be safe,” Bailey said. “Safety is the number one priority. But there’s something much deeper, a much deeper-rooted issue here and that is giving these kids hope and love.”
Bailey said these horrible incidents always make people go back and look at their safety policies and procedures, something he said he did with other district administrators Wednesday.