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Posted by on Apr 4, 2009 in At TMV | 3 comments

Binghamton Shooting Aftermath: There But For the Grace of God

While some people were busy criticizing Governor Paterson’s comments about the shooting, (for the record, he actually said it was the greatest tragedy and senseless crime in the history of the city, not of the state, as Andrew Malcolm appropriately corrected in his column) more local news continues to filter in and some of it strikes close to home. It turns out that a relative of one of my colleagues is a teacher at the Civic Association and was scheduled to be teaching there on the day of the shooting, but was on vacation. Instead, 72 year old teacher Roberta King filled in for her and wound up losing her life in the tragedy.

A 72-year-old Binghamton woman who taught at the American Civic Association, her family confirmed.

According to fellow instructor Priscilla Pease, King was the substitute teacher in the class the gunman entered Friday.

King was filling in for Elizabeth Hayes, who had taken vacation. That class is typically about 27 students, but Pease believes there were fewer than 27 students in King’s classroom on Friday.

While nothing should diminish the tragedy of the victims who were in the building yesterday, one must wonder about the impact this will have on Mrs. Hayes, who would have been in Ms. King’s place on that fateful day had she not gone on vacation. Personally, I can’t even imagine what that would feel like.

The photograph below is of Bobbie King teaching her class at the Civic Association and comes from the Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin.