This is a letter sent to staff members by John Pedicone, superintendent of Tucson Unified School District.
Dear Faculty and Staff members:
On Saturday morning a senseless and unthinkable act of violence occurred. When the news that Congresswoman Giffords was shot, I imagine you experienced, as I did, a sense of disbelief and shock. Like all of you, I know Gabrielle Giffords as a public servant and, like others of you, I also know her as a friend. When news of my selection as your superintendent became public, one of the first calls I received was from her offering her congratulations and support. Throughout our conversation, I heard the person I know to be always interested, concerned, sincere and human. As others have said, she is a special person who possesses remarkable talents, dedication and commitment; a person who would harm no one and who acts from a moral center to care about others above herself. It goes without saying that it is now our time to care about her and her family, as we offer our support for her recovery.
As the day went on, we learned that six people were killed and 13 others were injured. Among those whose lives ended were citizens who chose to spend their morning supporting the free exchange of dialogue with a Congressional leader; a Federal District Judge, a staff member, and a number of innocent and interested citizens, including a child who was there to meet her role model in Congresswoman Giffords and whose dream it was to become a person who would spend her own life helping others. You would not be human if you did not feel a heavy and almost unbearable sadness at the thought of such a deep loss.
As members of Tucson Unified School District, our jobs are to help children understand the world around them and to become productive citizens. We are responsible for turning what might not make sense into what does. When we join a school organization, we all assume the role of teacher, either through the direct work that we do or through our example to students, who watch the way we behave as a model for how they will know to act. It is at times like these that we are called upon to step forward and help students to deal with difficult and complex issues. I expect that throughout the day, the events of Saturday morning will be topics of discussion by and with students of all ages. I am confident that you will provide the support and example for them that will make this tragedy a learning experience from which they will understand that life is indeed precious and never to be taken for granted. That sometimes, when life brings us challenges for which there are no reasonable answers, we are called upon to simply stand together and provide support for each other. That might be the best we can expect and is what being human is all about.
I know you join with me to hold Congresswoman Giffords and all of the individuals and families involved in Saturday's tragic events in your thoughts.