MONTROSE, N.Y. – A candlelight vigil Monday evening for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting organized by the Hendrick Hudson Educators Association drew about 150 people.
Hendrick Hudson Schools Superintendent Brian Monahan called it, "An especially dreadful time, life-changing time for those of us that work with kids on a daily basis. I happened to be at Furnace Woods today, and you see these little kids walking into a concert and you think of what happened just a few days ago, and it is unfathomable."
The vigil commemorated the deaths of 20 first-graders and six adult victims shot in Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, also took the life of his mother, Nancy Lanza, in her home, before taking his own life while the school was being stormed by law enforcement officials.
Of the adult victims, three were teachers, one was a school psychologist, one was a behavioral therapist and one was a principal. There is more than one report of staffers putting themselves in harm's way to try to get children to safety.
"For me, with 40 years of working in schools, as you learned about what happened on Friday, and you learned about how the people that worked in that school became the heroes on behalf of those kids, frankly it didn't surprise me," said Monahan on Monday.
"I have an 8-year-old," said Jacqueline Pasquali, a retired New York Police Department officer who works in Hen Hud schools. She said she came to the vigil because, "I felt their pain."
Pasquali added, "It could have been one of us," about her years of police work. "I personally think the schools should put armed security," she said.
She's not alone. Monahan said he received letters from "a real number of people who wished there were police officers on campus."
"I know other people knew about it and they didn't come because it was too hard," said Sharon Salameh, mother of five children in Hen Hud schools. She said church was packed on Sunday.
About renewed calls for gun restrictions, Salameh said, "That needed to happen anyway, but that's not the focus." She also said, "The media plays a huge role in this, it's a problem," by giving recognition to perpetrators through repeating their names and faces. "People that do these things shouldn't have any name or face," Salameh said.
Monday marked the first round of funerals for the grief stricken Newtown, Conn. community. Two 6-year-olds were buried.
Additional anxiety was in the air in Westchester and Connecticut schools following a report of a "suspicious" person in nearby Ridgefield, Conn. carrying a rifle that turned out to be an umbrella. Ridgefield and Katonah-Lewisboro schools were put on "lockdown." No one was allowed in or out of the school without "proper identification."
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