Twenty-four years of pain have forged a new purpose for this group of former colleagues.
“I think I can speak for all of us. We’ve all been hurting for a long time,” said Judy Weldon, a former second grade teacher at Stockton’s Cleveland Elementary School.
They don’t want anyone else to have to remember the kind of day at school they had at Cleveland Elementary.
“I had been writing on the chalkboard just stepped back and the bullets came through right where I was standing,” former kindergarten teacher Barbara Sarkany.
“I heard a friend of mine say just outside my class say oh my god they’re killing out kids,” said Julie Schardt, former second grade teacher.
“There was a child that fell very close to my classroom. There was noting we could do for her,” said Adrienne Egland, former kindergarten teacher.
Patrick Purdy fired 106 rounds, killing five of Cleveland’s students and wounding 31 others in just three minutes.
Now fast forward to December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
“It was like deja vu and I became not only sad, but very angry that all these years… we’re still fighting this issue,” said Sarkany.
The issue that had them organize so many years after their own tragedy? Assault rifles.
“Since the Newtown shooting there have been over 2300 killings in our country and it needs to stop. If we can get assault rifles off the streets that would be a nice first step,” said Weldon.
To that end the newly formed ‘Cleveland School Shooting Survivors’ group is meeting with lawmakers to push tougher gun regulations and forming a network with others who’ve endured campus killings.
“Nobody understands it unless they’ve been there before,” said
They’re not sure where this new path of advocacy may lead, but they’re quite sure of where they hope this country never goes again.”
This group is very much against current efforts around the country to arm teachers.
They say it’s against the mission of their profession and impractical.
Their kids were shot on the playground.
They say someone would have had to shoot past kids to reach the gunman.
Weldon and others have just started a website www. clevelandshootingsurvivors.com
They’re also encouraging everyone on every side of the gun debate to call their congressman using this number : 202-224-3121.
They say legislators have to have all opinions on the table to make an informed decision.
Once you dial, just give your location and you’ll be routed to the appropriate congressman.