Local schools coping with Connecticut tragedy

Conrad Weiser rallys to support '88 grad who lost daughter in Conn. shooting

Local schools coping with Connecticut tragedy

EXETER TWP., Pa. - Kids all across the country and in Berks County went back to school Monday. There's no doubt many had their minds on the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

In the Conrad Weiser School District there were many heavy hearts. A 1988 graduate lost his six-year-old daughter in the Connecticut shooting.

At the Conrad Weiser School District the superintendent said things got back to normal as best they could. All around this area you will see green and white ribbons, the Sandy Hook Elementary school colors.

Sunday, graduates of the Conrad Weiser Class of 1988 along with other families and friends tied ribbons in honor of the victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook. One of their own, Joel Bacon lost his 6-year-old daughter, Charlotte Bacon.

"It's too close to home for many of us," said Pam Vanostenbridge on Sunday.

Charlotte Bacon was the little girl, who Friday morning convinced her mother to allow her to wear her holiday pink dress and white boots to school. It would be the last outfit she would ever choose.

"Our rational minds can never understand what has happened," said Vanostenbridge.

What was said in Sunday's gathering was true Monday morning, but kids still have to go to school and teachers still have to teach.

"It's tough, it's tough because they're thinking about what happened up in Connecticut, what would have happened if that had been us," said Dr. Randall Grove, superintendent.

But Grove said the Conrad Weiser schools were ready.

"One little boy came up to the guidance counselor there and said, 'Hey, I heard about those shootings," said Grove, "The counselor did a great job fielding his questions talking to him a little bit."

Grove said he knows some kids may still have questions, but getting them back into a routine is key.

"It's tough to hear little guys concerned, concerned about that," said Grove, "So, we have to do our best to reassure them that we're doing everything that we can."

The class of 1988 said they plan to raise money for the Bacon family to give directly to them or to a charity the family chooses.

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