ASU mourns slayings
|The university community joined the greater Jonesboro community in
experiencing the impact of the shooting that killed five and injured 10
Tuesday outside Westside Middle School.
Greg Thetford, a junior marketing major of Jonesboro, and Kelli Oustead, a freshman elementary education major of Jonesboro, are the son and daughter of shooting victim Lynette Thetford, 42, a teacher at Westside Middle School.
Thetford underwent almost five hours of surgery Tuesday for a bullet wound to her leg. On Wednesday, Thetford moved from St. Bernards critical care to a private room, where she remains in stable condition.
Greg Thetford said his mother can speak, but she does not want to know the details about the shooting. In fact, she does not know the other victims' names, he said.
Thetford said doctors expect Lynette Thetford to recover fully.
He had lunch with his mother at the school Monday, he said.
"I stopped and said ÔHi' to Shannon (Wright), and she was smiling. But I just never thought that would be the last time," Thetford said. "It really hit me hard that could have been my mom."
Wright died Tuesday night at St. Bernards.
Early news reports said Lynette Thetford recently might have reprimanded the two boys whom police arrested in connection with the shooting, Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden,11.
But Greg Thetford said his mother did not reprimand the two boys.
"Everything is speculation," Thetford said. "The boy who was in trouble was in the seventh grade, and mom didn't have anything to do with that. The boy was in trouble because he pulled a knife on another kid in the locker room."
Thetford said he thinks the incident will not stop his mother from returning to teaching.
"I think Mom will be glad to get back in the classroom," Thetford said.
His family has not sought counseling but has relied on support from family members and friends, Thetford said.
"We are going to work it out among our family and close friends; that's really what's kind of holding us together right now," Thetford said. "But that's not to say professional counseling is bad."
Greg Thetford said the community support has overwhelmed him.
"The flags at half mast really show that they care," he said. "When we look at those flags, we know why they are there."
Thetford's father, Carroll, is the principal of Nettleton High School in Jonesboro.
Brittney Lambie is the daughter of Kathy Lambie, admissions office supervisor. Brittney Lambie, a student at Westside, suffered gunshot wounds and was in stable condition Wednesday night at St. Bernards Regional Medical Center. Kathy Lambie was not available for comment.
Brandi George, 12, is the sister of C.J. George, a sophomore pre-chiropractic major of Jonesboro. Brandi attends Westside Middle School but did not suffer injuries in the shooting.
George said he was in class when he received a page from his girlfriend, who told him about the shooting.
He said he tried to call his parents to find out his sister's condition but could not reach them.
George and his girlfriend went to the hospital, where they learned his sister was not among the victims.
George said his sister does not want to return to school because she fears a similar event will happen.
His sister knew many injured students and was friends with one of the fatally wounded students, he said.
George's mother also was close friends with Wright, he said.
David Grossman, former chair of the Department of Military Science, wrote the book "On Killing--The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War."
Grossman commends the work of Arkansas State University faculty who helped with counseling after the shooting.
"Nobody has been trained for this," Grossman said. "These people have never had training or experience in this. It is very scary to accept responsibility for human lives."
Dr. Ann Bauer, assistant professor of counseling, said students and faculty members in the Department of Counselor Education and Psychology have helped counsel students at local schools.
A free counseling clinic site was open on the first floor of the Education and Communications building on Wednesday, but the center did not see much activity, Bauer said.
Almost 300 students, local citizens and Westside Middle School students and family attended a candlelight vigil Tuesday night in front of the Dean B. Ellis Library.
The library bells tolled once for each victim as students sang hymns and prayed in small groups.
Leonard Higgins of the Wesley Foundation, which co-sponsored the event with the Student Activities Board and the Student Government Association, spoke at the vigil.
"It is said there are truly no victims," Higgins said. "Well, I met some children tonightÉWhoever said there was no victims was wrong."
Nathalia Dawson, a sophomore social work major of Jacksonville was one of three ASU students who went to the middle school Tuesday to provide counseling.
Dawson also attended the vigil, where she provided counseling to several other people attending.
"I felt that I had to be there," she said.
Lee Trueblood, director of Delta Hall, said ASU might house victims' family and friends.
"We're going to open up whatever we have available to friends and family who come to visit," Trueblood said.
He said ASU might provide lodging because local hotels are full.
A blood drive for victims will take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday in Room 111 of the Nursing and Health Professions building.
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