December 15, 2012

Central Mainers react to Conn. school shooting

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- On Friday, 26 people were shot by a gunman at a Connecticut elementary school. Adam Lanza, 20, forced his way into the school, and killed 20 children, the school principal, school psychologist and four teachers. He also shot his mother, at her home in Newtown, Conn., before the school rampage.

Area residents Saturday were asked:

Do you think parents should talk to their young children about what happened?

Do you think schools should address what happened?

Should there be greater security measures taken at schools?

Do you think there needs to be more gun control in the United States?

Rick Pomelow, 40, Waterville, Army National Guard: "It's important to have an awareness of evil and for kids to be aware of their surroundings. This was a horrible, evil incident. I don't think it will help whether or not guns are outlawed, though. Criminals will still act no matter whether it is with a gun, knife or sword."

Erica England, 33, Waterville, psychologist: "I think parents should talk about it with their kids, but it depends on how much the kids know about it. If they have questions, parents should address them, but they shouldn't force their kids to talk about it. I think that to prevent something like this from happening again, mental health services need to be more available."

Heather Tompkins, 34, Waterville, teacher: "My children don't know anything about it. If they have questions I would keep the answers simple and honest. I think training is important for teachers though. Kids need to go to school and we don't want them to have nightmares about it. Older kids will definitely hear about it and they need to be reassured, which is why I think we should go over safety protocol with them."

Lisen Chesley, 44, Clinton, social worker: "I think kids understand more than we give them credit for. I think parents definitely need to talk about it because its all over the news and kids will definitely know about it. Why wouldn't we want to see their reaction and make sure they are comfortable in society?"

Chuck Horstman, 70, Augusta, retired contractor: "I have 10 grandchildren in school and it's always a challenge for me to get into any school I've visited. I also used to be a hunter, so I'm not against guns. It's fine to have rifles and shotguns, but the average person doesn't need an automatic weapon."

Josiah Coyle, 21, Unity, college student: "It's hard to say schools are safe right now. As a kid you want to feel comfortable. School already feels like a prison sometimes, so you don't want locks on the doors and windows."

Mike Vasiliauskas, 57, Searsport, teacher: "I think kids right now are really afraid and on edge. Nothing was said at my school Friday but I'm sure the principal will probably address it on Monday. I think parents need to talk to their kids and tell them that this is not normal."

Rachel Ohm -- 612-2368
rohm@mainetoday.com

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