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Students reunite with families after tragic school shooting

Leonardtown, MD - The scene at the Leonardtown High School (LHS)/Dr. James A. Forest Career and Technology Center campus was as chaotic as the crime scene on Great Mills Road had been earlier in the morning. Parents of GMHS students had been instructed by the sheriff’s office to pick up their children at the campus across from the county fairgrounds. The facilities’ parking lots were maxed out and parents and guardians then had to seek any spot they could on Point Lookout Road. A steady rain accompanied by gusty winds only added to the angst.

“They are making this pickup completely stupid,” declared “Todd,” who went to LHS to pick up his son, a GMHS senior. “Everyone who goes to Great Mills lives within five miles of the school.”

Parents, guardians and family members were directed to the LHS gymnasium to register and await hearing the name of their student/family member called out. Once that was done, the adults were shepherded to the tech center for the reunification.

“My fiancé is a school bus driver,” said “Sareka,” when asked how she learned about the shooting incident. Sareka texted her child. Her child texted back admitting to being “a little scared about the situation.”

“I was home and his mom called me,” said “Sam,” who went to LHS to pick up his son. “He’s fine, just scared. They [kids] have never seen something like this happen in real life.”

Another parent, “Michelle,” said “a lady at work” told her about the shooting incident. Michelle said she was able to contact her son and “he seems OK.”

After waiting a few hours for news of her child, one woman began to shout in the hallways, obviously frustrated at the tedious process of the mother and child reunion. “This is taking too damn long,” the woman shouted.

As the process continued under the watchful eyes of school administrators and special operations officers from all three Southern Maryland counties and at least one federal agency, a catering service and volunteers from the American Red Cross arrived with bottled water and snacks for the students and parents in hurry up and wait mode. Other aid was also on the way.

“We’re here to offer help with counseling,” said Dr. Laurence Polsky, Calvert County’s health officer. “We’re just trying to help out any way we can.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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