Students at Knox Elementary School released several hundred green and white balloons Friday in honor of Newtown, Conn. and those affected by the Sandy Brook Elementary shootings. All students and faculty wore green and white in honor of the school’s colors. -- Sarah Cook

Knox students honor Newtown, Conn. victims

Published 9:46pm Friday, December 21, 2012

While children at Knox Elementary School released their green and white balloons into the air Friday morning they, along with their teachers and school administrators, remembered those who suffered in the Newtown, Conn. tragedy.

“To those kids in Connecticut, it just really touched my heart,” said James Pope, Knox Elementary School principal. “Talking to my teachers and seeing what we could do, the closest thing we came up with was releasing balloons so they know we’re thinking of them, we love them and as educators this has impacted all of our hearts.”

Before releasing the balloons, all Knox students gathered in the school cafeteria to hear a message from Ward 7 representative Bennie Ruth Crenshaw. Also, students recited the pledge of allegiance, school creed and sang their school song.

“The ceremony was fantastic,” said Ronald Lane, 4th grade teacher at Knox. “I think it was symbolic of just where we are in this country, everyone hoping we can come together and start living in unity.”

As an educator, Lane said the massacre especially tugged at his heart.

“As a teacher you’re not just an educator. You’re a parent,” Lane said. “You have to have a real passion to do this job and we just feel for all those affected by this horrible event.”

Both Pope and Lane said that as a response to the tragedy, which happened last week, Knox teachers have looked at their safety guidelines.

“We practice procedures all the time and sometimes the kids don’t take it as seriously as they should,” Lane said. “We need to let them know that these things do happen in society and they need to think about that.”

After the ceremony, Lane said he believed all the students and faculty members felt sympathy as everyone tries to make sense of the horrible events and recover.

“I don’t think we’ve recovered just yet,” he said. “I don’t think the nation has either. It’ll be a while before we do.”

Selma City Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw said although the green and white balloons, which are the school colors of Sandy Hook Elementary, probably won’t reach Newtown, Conn., she hopes the families affected feel our sympathy in Selma.

“We want to help them understand that we have to share our sorrows as brothers and sisters of God,” she said. “I really want Sandy Hook families to know that we’re thinking of them.”

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