Off-Duty Police, Military Heeding Call to Stand Guard Over Schools Today
The emotional toll on many of us continues, as victims of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting continue to be laid to rest, and televised memorials across the nation bring the pain back to the surface. As news stories continue to flow in of shootings and school threats, parents continue to be frustrated, feeling helpless to stand against the fear.
Some parents, however, have figured out a way to stand up in the way they know best.
In a show of solidarity toward the community and its teachers, parents and children, off-duty police officers and former and current military members are taking up a reported Facebook request to stand vigil, in plain sight, in front of their local elementary schools.
In Amarillo, Texas, Wesley Johnson, a local marine on leave, has taken up watch at a street corner in front of Western Plateau Elementary School. Parents and teachers, according to Johnson, have been very supportive of his efforts to provide some measure of security, some feeling of being watched over. According to Johnson, he'll be there for the kids as long as he can.
In Barstow, California, Army Reservist Matt Haefele, 28, continues to stand watch over Henderson Elementary School, in his fatigues and Army boots. Haefele also served four years in the Marines, and is ready to take on anything that comes his school's way.
“We are just so blessed and so touched that a parent would want to come in and volunteer their time like that," said school Principal Michele Enriquez. “I wanted to come here and make sure everybody gets home safe,” said Haefele (image above) when asked by the Desert Dispatch. "And, has a good Christmas.”
The act of public awareness has not been without some issue.
When the Marine Corps found out that former Marine Staff Sgt. Jordan Pritchard (image, page 2) was wearing his cammies in front of his local elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, they told him that it was in violation of their uniform protocols. Former Marines are only allowed to wear their dress-type uniforms during special events or ceremonies. Marine "battle dress" is not permitted to be worn in public, although the Marines say they support Pritchard standing watch over his local school..Continued on the next page