NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The images of parents running toward their children as SWAT teams swarm an elementary school in Texas bring back a flood of emotions nearly 10 years after 20 first-graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Scarlett Lewis lost her son, Jesse, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, and she says the emotions are still fresh. When another school shooting happens like what happened Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas, she is forced to relive the emotions all over again.
“Devastation because I know exactly what those parents are going through, and you bring your child to school with a book bag, and they leave in a body bag,” Lewis said. “It’s not the way it should be. It’s not the way it has to be!”
Lewis started the Choose Love Movement in honor of her son. She created programming that she hopes will reduce school violence.
“I have been shouting from the rooftops for 10 years that we need to focus our resources — that is time energy, and money — at the root cause of school violence,” she said.
Lewis said we need to look at and address the root cause of why someone wants to walk into a school with a gun. Everything from social and emotional competence, anti-bullying, and coping skills.
“It addresses the root cause of the suffering that leads to what happened in Texas, and 10 years ago, at Sandy Hook,” Lewis said. “We’ve had over 350 school shootings since Sandy Hook. This is in our country.”
Most of all, Lewis believes parents need to know what’s going on in their children’s lives.
“Parents, you need to get involved, you need to start asking your kids questions, you need to start figuring out what they are doing, and what are they watching,” she said.
The daughter of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School who was killed in the shooting, Erica Leslie Lafferty, tweeted: “I can’t get my head out of the Sandy Hook firehouse. PTSD is brutal. My heart is with #RobbElementarySchool families, faculty and the community. I’m broken.”
Sandy Hook Promise is a national nonprofit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Its goal is to protect children from gun violence.
“We are devastated about reports that multiple people are dead, including children,” the organization posted on Facebook Tuesday afternoon. “Our hearts are with the families and community as this tragic story unfolds.”
Newtown Action Alliance, a national grassroots group formed after the Sandy Hook tragedy, took to Twitter, stating, in part:
“We are devastated. Our hearts are breaking for Robb Elementary & Uvalde families & community. We are angry. These shootings are preventable but those whose stood with the NRA after Sandy Hook nearly 10 years ago did absolutely nothing to prevent these tragedies. We need change. Our kids should be leading safe, joyous lives, filled with happy experiences. This violence is unacceptable. Don’t accept it.”
Read Newtown Action Alliance’s full statement here.