A group of Norwood mothers gathered in the rain this morning to commemorate the people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a week ago.
At the same time, police stepped up security at Norwood High School and Coakley Middle School following rumors of violent threats against the schools. Police Chief Bill Brooks said there had been “rumors that there have been threats that something’s going to happen.”
The police interviewed students and searched Facebook and Twitter, but were not able to determine who originated the threats or any evidence that the rumors were based on fact, Brooks said. To ensure the children’s safety, an extra officer was sent to each of those two schools, in addition to the school resource officer.
Superintendent James Hayden called parents to let them know about the rumors of threats and to reassure them of the heightened security. At noon, he told The Globe that the school day was running smoothly and nothing unusual had happened.
At the Norwood memorial in the morning, about a dozen mothers showed up, many with children the same ages as the 6- and 7-year-olds who died at Sandy Hook.
Norwood resident Alyssa Ellis organized the event based on an idea from a Facebook memorial page for the Sandy Hook victims. It’s called a “Walk 27” – people walk 27 minutes, one minute for each person killed.
“Most of us felt the need to do something,” Ellis said. “As a mom, I knew anything I did or sent to [the families of Sandy Hook victims] would make no difference to those moms…I thought it was a good idea to make 27 minutes count for somebody else.”
As the women walked in groups of two or three around a field near Hawes Pool, they talked about how the tragedy has put things in perspective. They said they are treasuring the moments they have with their children.
After 27 minutes, the group gathered in a circle. Pieces of paper bearing the names of the victims were handed out and they took turns reciting them out loud. Several women cried as they read the names.
“Charlotte Bacon, six years old.”
“Victoria Soto, teacher.”
They had a moment of silence, said a prayer for the victims and then slowly walked back to their cars.
View more pictures of the Walk 27 in Norwood here. Emily Files can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.