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President Obama issues a statement on the Connecticut school shooting

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Video courtesy of the White House.

Text of President Obama's remarks

THE PRESIDENT: This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.

As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans. And I will do everything in my power as President to help.

Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need — to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.

May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

Flags to fly at half-staff in honor of Newton victims

The flag at the Hilo post office at half-staff Friday (Dec 14).

The flag at the Hilo post office at half-staff Friday (Dec 14).

HONOLULU – As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated today in Newtown, Conn., Governor Neil Abercrombie has ordered all Hawaii flags at all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard to be flown at half-staff alongside U.S. flags through sunset Dec. 18.

Governor Abercrombie stated:

“With the President, our hearts are heavy today over the loss of so many innocent lives in Connecticut. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and the people of Connecticut in this time of tragedy. It is horrific that anyone would take away so many young lives. Schools should always be a safe and nurturing place for our children and educators.”

President Barack Obama today ordered that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset Dec. 18, 2012. The President also directed that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

Security and emergency measures in place at all Hawaii public schools

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness Branch has met with Honolulu Police Department officials to review security procedures for the state’s public schools.

The meeting with law enforcement was prompted following a shooting at a Connecticut school that killed 20 students and seven adults.

“All of Hawaii’s public schools have emergency procedures in place and today our teams revisited those procedures with a heightened awareness,” Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said. “While this tragedy is incomprehensible, all of our schools have counseling services available for students, parents, and teachers who may need them.”

This weekend marks the start of the winter break for Hawaii’s public schools. If parents and/or students need counseling services during this time, please contact your school or the DOE for assistance at 808-586-3232.

The following links are helpful resources for addressing a crisis with children:

UPDATED (12/17/2012 at 10:11 AM)

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