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Scotch Plains/Fanwood — News

Local Residents Respond to School Shooting in Connecticut

Mindy Scarlett and Jackie Lieberman

Friday, December 14, 2012 • 4:18pm

FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ—Local residents were shocked today after hearing the news of today’s school shooting in Newton, CT.

Jen Cohn, Fanwood resident and wife of Steve Cohn, a high school English teacher in Westfield was horrified by the story.

 “This news is very unnerving. Something like this can happen anywhere and at any time.  And to think that they probably let him in because his mother was a teacher at the school,” said Cohn.

Para Clark, assistant director of The Wonder Years Academy daycare in Fanwood, was at work when she heard the news early this afternoon. On impulse, she began going from classroom to classroom to check on each of the children, one of whom is her three-year-old daughter.

"I don't even know what to say," said Clark. "I was crying when I heard the news. I'm going to go hug my kid now."

Joe Citarella, a police officer in Scotch Plains, has two elementary aged children. He said, “I was shocked and disgusted with what happened. Unfortunately, it could happen anywhere.  It doesn’t matter how much security there is, someone will get around it. You can’t stop everyone.”

Citarella went on to say that he was “speechless” that such a tragedy could occur again and that he and his wife Deborah would be keeping the victims’ families in their thoughts and prayers.

Westfield Board of Education member Mark Friedman said, "Horrible tragedy. I am so tired of hearing people talk about how we have the rights to have guns. Who on Earth needs automatic weapons. Nobody unless they are in the military or law enforcement. We need to call upon our elected officials and let them know that unless they push back on the gun lobby and work to get guns off the streets, we will not put them back in office. Having my own children and being a member of the Westfield School Board, makes this terrible tragedy really hit home. I am sickened by it."

TheAlternativePress.com will continue to report on the incident and its aftermath.

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