The holiday season is over and millions of students and educators across the country have returned to school.
Students and educators from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. returned to school today, 20 days after a shooting which killed 26 people.
Students and staff went to a different school building, several miles away from Sandy Hook.
A heavy police presence is reported outside the school and police said this is likely the safest school in America.
I recently finished reading “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult, which is about a 17-year-old male high school student who killed 10 students and staff members at his fictional New Hampshire high school. The book concludes with students and staff returning to the school with new security measures in place, similar to Sandy Hook.
The gunman in this novel had been bullied by his peers since his first day of kindergarten. One of the lessons in this book is the importance of treating others with respect and the impact of our words and actions.
Last Sunday, Dec. 30, was the Feast of the Holy Family. The second reading, Col 3:12-21, reminded us about kindness and pardon:
“Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.”
One day shy of the three week anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, churches across the country continue to pray for the victims of the tragedy. This community needs our continued prayers as students and educators return to school in Connecticut and across the country. Let us remember the importance of forgiveness, kind words, gestures and pray for peace in 2013.