Westport Principal Describes Hailey as Happy, With a Zest for Life

Published 02/19 2014 05:46PM

Updated 02/19 2014 06:32PM

Springfield, Mo. – After the death of 10-year-old Hailey, the community has been impacted by the loss.

A fourth-grader at Westport Elementary School, Hailey is described as a happy girl with a zest for life by her principal, Gary Tew.

Tew was very emotional Wednesday afternoon speaking about Hailey.

He described her death as a tragedy not only the school, but the whole community.

Tew talked about the Valentine's Day dance Hailey went to last Friday and her involvement in an after-school church based club.

On Wednesday, his priority was taking care of the other students as the school deals with this tragedy.

"Parents send their kids to us as their most precious gift and our obligation as educators is to take care of the kids,” says Tew. “And do what's best for them and, you know, again that's what we are called to do and wavering from that is an injustice. So again, that's what we have to do is take care of the kids and that was our role today."

The school sent a letter home to parents on Wednesday.

It says Westport K-8 community is shocked by the tragic death of Hailey.

Situations like this remind communities to review safety practices at school and home.

The school brought in extra counselors for the kids and staff members.

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