(NewsNation) — Hearing the description given by a third grade student at Robb Elementary School, who described his teachers standing by their classroom door to block bullets and of hugging his classmates while gunshots rang out, got former Robb Elementary School Principal Ross McGlothlin thinking.
This was not something people his age had to think about in school, McGlothlin thought.
“My mind is on kids there (in) the Uvalde community and across the state and nation that are being forced to think about things like this that kids shouldn’t have to think about,” McGlothlin said. “We didn’t have to think about that when we were growing up, but it’s a reality.”
On Tuesday, 19 children and two teachers were massacred at Robb Elementary by suspect Salvador Ramos, who entered the school with an AR-15 rifle and unleashed bullets on a fourth grade classroom.
It is a daunting and harrowing event for anyone to process, but for children who still attend school, an event like that can saddle them with fear for years to come.
But McGlothlin said because this is the reality in U.S. schools, things like lockdown drills have in a sense prepared students for what to do. The hardest part can be helping students cope in the aftermath of such a tragedy. McGlothin now has to wade through those waters at his school, 80 miles west of Uvalde.
“We first and foremost want to know of students that are struggling or that do have questions and we want to try and answer those questions honestly, being mindful also that there are some students that perhaps have not had a chance to process the information or are unaware of the significance of what took place,” McGlothlin said.
McGlothlin of course remembers the two Robb Elementary School teachers who were killed Tuesday, Irma Garcia, 46, and Eva Mireles, 44. The pair were partner teachers, a system at Robb Elementary where one teacher oversees reading, writing and social studies, while the other focuses on math and science.
“(Irma) was very well-respected by her colleagues and members of the community, a really strong teacher that knew the curriculum, but not only that, knew how to engage her students and get them excited about learning,” McGlothlin said. “I also remember about Irma that she was fantastic and building a classroom community, she thought of her students as an extension of her own family and was a very special teacher.”