Coast teachers offer glimmer of hope for Sandy Hook - - The News for South Mississippi

Coast teachers offer glimmer of hope for Sandy Hook


About a dozen teachers gathered on the beach in Gulfport Wednesday morning at sunrise to offer prayers and support to the victims and survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Despite the early morning cold, the teachers were filled with warm thoughts for those impacted by one of the worst school shootings in the nation's history. Twenty children and six adults lost their lives.

Phyllis Skinner, who helped organize the vigil, said, "I was just driving along and thought about the agony that these families are going through, and as a teacher what it would be like to go back into the classroom to deal with your own fears, to be there for our children. And that's where the idea came from. Teachers supporting teachers."

There was a stark reminder of the terrible loss, as names of the victims were read. The need for this vigil was apparent, as was the need for healing, according to Ron Skinner.  

"These children and these teachers are going to need our support for the long term. This is not something that's going away in their hearts and their minds and in their psyche overnight," Skinner said. "So it's important for them to know that there are those of us who are praying for them and thinking about them and caring about them."  

The principal of one of the schools in the St. Martin district was there at the candlelight vigil. Dr. Christopher William felt compelled to attend, and felt a special connection to the principal who lost her life at Sandy Hook Elementary.  

"I just can't imagine experiencing something like that and so, definitely, I feel connected to that principal. She gave her life, she's considered a hero and I'm honored to be in this profession," William said. 

"We are thinking of them and we're not going to stop thinking of them, and we're not going to stop praying for them because this is a journey for them in the days ahead.

Teachers and students from Sandy Hook Elementary School go back to class Thursday for the first time since the shooting occurred.

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