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Area leaders express grief, anger and ask for action after Texas, Buffalo mass shootings

Akron Beacon Journal logo Akron Beacon Journal 5/25/2022 Jim Mackinnon, Akron Beacon Journal

Summit County leaders and others in the state reacted on social media and elsewhere with sadness, anger and grief over Tuesday's mass shooting in Texas that killed at least 19 schoolchildren and 2 teachers. The gunman, 18, was shot to death by police.

"This country needs to wake the hell up and realize it has a gun problem," Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said.

The mayor noted that a 15-year-old boy died Tuesday in the city after being shot during an altercation outside a neighborhood home.

Gov. Mike DeWine said he and his wife were heartbroken over the deaths.

"The last place we should be afraid to send our children and grandchildren is to school," DeWine said in a statement.

U.S. Rep Tim Ryan said he and his wife were praying for the people in Uvalde, Texas.

U.S. Sen Sherrod Brown tweeted: "I'm at a loss. The inaction of a handful of politicians in Washington and state legislatures continues to cost us lives, mass shooting after mass shooting."

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said the nation mourns for the innocent lives lost in the "senseless act of violence."

U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown noted the Texas deaths followed a mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., and said there were more 17,000 gun deaths so far in 2022, "many of which hardly make the news."

Area school leaders respond

Several local school leaders shared their thoughts on the shooting, with the words "horrific" and "tragic" frequently expressed. 

"We mourn today as a nation, full of questions and anxiety about the senseless tragedy in Uvalde, Texas at Robb Elementary School," said Walter Davis, superintendent of Woodridge Local Schools, in a message posted on the school district's website. "As parents, our first thoughts are focused on our own children, what to say to them, how to protect them, ensuring that they are safe. Our hearts go out to the citizens of Uvalde who struggled through the day unsure of the safety of their own kids, some not learning until late into the night if their child was safe."

Davis said the district has "taken a variety of steps in recent years, some seen and some unseen, to protect our schools — our students and staff." 

Read Davis' full statement here.

Michael Tefs, the superintendent of the Revere Local Schools, said in a phone message that with "this newest school shooting, a moment of silence seems horribly insufficient, and providing our thoughts and prayers almost cliche."

"I, like many others I'm sure, (am) almost paralyzed by yet another senseless school shooting. I simply cannot comprehend the hate and violence."

Watch video of Tefs' statement here.

Tefs said the district will continue to implement its current safety measures while continuing to look for improvements. 

"We all should pause sometime today have a moment of silence for the Robb Elementary School community," he added.

The Norton City Schools district "is sending thoughts and prayers to the families and school district in Uvalde, Texas," said Superintendent Dana Addis.  

"It's difficult for us to form proper feelings and opinions on this event because we know the Uvalde school district, families and community are the ones feeling a pain today that is personal to them," Addis said. "Our only hope is that provided help and healing time will arrive in their lives in the manner that is needed and beneficial."

In a message sent to Tallmadge City School District families, Superintendent Steve Wood said that "our thoughts and prayers are with the families, staff, and community of Uvalde as they face this senseless tragedy.

"As we learn more about yesterday’s horrific act of violence, we naturally think about our preparedness for such an event here at home. The Tallmadge School-City Emergency Preparedness Team meets routinely to review and practice safety plans, always preparing for events we pray never happen."

Wood added that if a student or a member of a student's family had concerns about a possible safety issue, they should contact a school employee or use the Keep Tallmadge Safe Helpline at 877-265-6534 or text 66746, then type TIPS.  

Brian Poe, superintendent of Copley-Fairlawn City Schools, said the district's "thoughts and prayers go out to the students, school staff, families and community of Uvalde County, Texas." 

"This is such a tragic event," Poe said. "Please know that we will continue to work in concert with law enforcement and do everything within our power to keep our students and staff members safe."

Kathryn Powers, superintendent of the Twinsburg City School District, said the "entire Twinsburg City School District family is deeply shaken by the tragic events at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas." 

"No parent or school staff member should leave the love of their family for a school day, never to return," she said. "We pray for peace and strength for the loved ones of those killed in this very sad tragedy."

Joe Clark, the superintendent of the Nordonia Hills City School District, said the district's "thoughts and prayers are with the families, staff, and community of Uvalde as they face this senseless tragedy."

"As we learn more about yesterday’s horrific act of violence, we naturally think about our preparedness for such an event here at home," Clark said. "The Nordonia crisis management team meets continually to review and practice safety plans, always preparing for events we pray never happen. We are grateful for our close relationship with all of our first responders for their guidance and support in these efforts."

Clark said students or family members who hear about a potential threat or safety issue should call or text 1-844-723-3764. 

Russell Chaboudy, the interim superintendent of the Cuyahoga Falls City School District, said the shooting in Texas "was horrific."

"As educators, parents and grandparents, this incident shakes us to the core," Chaboudy said. "Something has to change soon in order to better protect our children and our teachers. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families impacted by this senseless act of violence."

With reports from Beacon Journal reporters April Helms and Tawney Beans. Beacon Journal reporter Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Area leaders express grief, anger and ask for action after Texas, Buffalo mass shootings

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