Swartz Creek Students Witness Shooting in Washington D.C.
Field trips are supposed to be carefree and fun, but middle school students from one local district ended up with in a very scary and traumatic situation yesterday. The Swartz Creek students were witnesses as a man was shot and killed in a busy area of downtown Washington D.C. on Thursday.
The group of of eighth-graders, on the annual school field trip, had been walking into the National Portrait Gallery when the shooting happened. Chaperones & teachers quickly moved students inside and out of harms way.
Parent Jason White, a Genesee County Deputy, was on the trip with daughter Rachel and said that he knew immediately after the first shot what was going on. He states most of the kids were unaware of what was happening at first. "The parents and teachers all worked together to move the kids around the building and inside and eventually to the buses. They were wonderful and followed directions", White said in a phone interview.
White himself went into action pursuing the suspect while calling 911 and giving details as to description and location. He then assisted the victim until local law enforcement arrived. The victim died after being shot multiple times by the suspect who was later taken into custody.
White says that the students seem to be doing ok and that both the parents & teachers have talked extensively with them both last night and today. The Metro D.C. police had offered counselors for the students as well. "We have talked to them in groups and alone and they seem to be doing ok, although some are still upset", White says. "We are trying to put it behind us and enjoy the rest of the field trip"
Swartz Creek Superintendent Benjamin Mainka sent a email to parents last night assuring them a trauma team would be brought in to help students who saw a shooting happen. "It is sad and disheartening that such a positive experience for our children had such a terrible situation occur", Mainka says in the letter.
The group returned on Sunday morning. Most parents had spoken to their children since the incident and were reassured of their safety. Still, to say parents were anxiously counting down the seconds to see their children return was an understatement. Parent Shannon Leach spelled it out perfectly, "Scariest phone call I’ve gotten in a long time! So thankful for the staff and chaperones and how well the kids handled the situation . I couldn't wait to hug my boy!" Hug him extra for all of us.