May 2007

On behalf of all of us at Superintendent’s Profile, I want offer our condolences to those directly affected by the horrific shooting at Virginia Tech University.

I learned once that if you get 23 people together in a room the probability is greater than 50 percent that two people will share the same birthday. Get that number up to 57 and there’s a 99 percent probability. Sadly, it’s not just mathematics that prove we’re never far from having something in common with others.

As some of you might already be aware, one of the young victims of the shooting, Caitlin Hammaren, lived in Westtown, N.Y. She graduated from Minisink Valley High School in 2005 and was a sophomore at Virginia Tech majoring in international studies and French. By all published accounts I could find, she was remembered as a leader among the students and community in Westtown and had what appeared to be a world of opportunity before her.

People inaccurately, almost automatically, say they can never truly understand what other people are experiencing in a time of loss. Sure they can. I have a young daughter and damn well know precisely what this loss must feel like, and I humbly offer my deepest regrets for what Caitlin’s family and community are going through in Westtown.

I’m not going to wax political. That’s not what this publication is about. Others can “get to the bottom” of this, debate what caused the tragedy, what and who could have prevented it and all that. Bottom line, though, is that somebody’s going to have to.

Locations of tragedies like the ones in Columbine and Virginia Tech are incidental because failing mental health is pandemic.

With as much passion and diligence that we use to resolve problems in our line of work we need to demand the same work ethic from the people who are to supposed to resolve this issue. If we don’t then we’re really only a roomful of people away from this type of incident affecting each and every one of our lives, again. P

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