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Carlie Brucia Remembered by School, Peers

Aired February 6, 2004 - 10:37   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go live now to Sarasota, Florida for the latest on Carlie Brucia. She is the 11-year-old who's body was discovered earlier today. She has become famous across the country because her abduction was caught on a surveillance tape at a car wash in Sarasota.
This scene now from the middle school that Carlie attended. This is the principal about to speak, Principal Bob Hagemann. Let's listen in.

BOB HAGEMANN, PRINCIPAL, MACINTOSH MIDDLE SCHOOL: Good morning. On behalf of the staff and the students and the learning community associated with MacIntosh Middle School, we welcome you on a very sad day in the history of MacIntosh and this entire school district.

We know that the community is grieving the loss of a very, very precious young lady, somebody very special in the hearts and the minds of MacIntosh Middle School. Today the heart of MacIntosh Middle School is greatly wounded.

But MacIntosh is on a healing journey. I have staff and students working together with the great resources of the Sarasota County School Board in a partnership with law enforcement agencies to make a difference at this important moment in time and as the legacy continues.

I want to take a moment just to give my thank you to the outreach of this community, to the work of the Sheriff's Department for Sarasota County, the friendship, the warmth, the regard that comes from your sheriff, Bill Balkwill.

I want to thank the school board personally, members and representatives here today, that have been with us all week long.

And I also want to say that the children of MacIntosh Middle School have been speaking faith into this situation all week. They had been optimistic. They have coached each other, mentored each other. They have been honorable, they have been courageous. They are a great student population. And I need to tell you, they are just simply a sample of what is in this district.

Carlie, a shining light at MacIntosh Middle School, a young girl who was an advocate for every child, a young girl with great respect for her parents, for the adults on this campus and for the purpose and mission of MacIntosh Middle School.

You could see Carlie in the hallways, in the media center, in the cafeteria and in the classroom. You could never miss Carlie. And now we are greatly going to miss her.

But I believe that this staff and these children are going to create, in memory of this young lady, a performance inside and outside the classroom that will honor her contribution. She will not be lost.

And I need for you to understand that. This community has been there for us and has stepped up. So many agencies have contacted us. So many interested citizens across the United States have shared and grieved with us.

Tonight I understand that the community has put together a prayer vigil. I will be there, as will representatives from the school system and law enforcement. And that will be at the community Bible chapel, which is 4201 Bayavista Street (ph). And that will begin at 6:30.

During the day there is a crisis intervention team on campus. They've been available to us all week long, as children have begun to express their feelings. They are here in force today. They have saturated the school with resources and support. And they will return Monday.

I am blessed with a very professional and capable staff. And they are very intimately involved with the children at this moment in time. I have visited the sixth grade classes and they are doing magnificent things in a tragic moment.

I want to let you know that we will have the school open tomorrow morning. We will be available to the citizens and friends of MacIntosh Middle School. We'll open our doors and be in the media center from 10:00 to noon tomorrow and then again Monday evening from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Once again, in the media center.

Not only will we have representatives, we'll have professionals from different agencies here helping us work through this process. We understand it is a healing journey.

For Carlie, she has the ultimate healing. For MacIntosh Middle School, we are going to do whatever is necessary for the children and for the community. Therefore, during the week, we will have personnel here to meet the needs of our children as they emerge and to respond favorably in any way that's proper to this community.

In fact, a letter will be going home with every child tonight expressing our heartfelt condolences for this family, celebrating the memory of this precious child and giving them information on the opportunities that exist so they may partner with us in this healing journey.

I really appreciate and value all of you being here. It says something very important about one child. It says something very important about a collaborative effort to go forward. I'm certainly here for any questions you may have that are appropriate to the schoolhouse and the school setting.

QUESTION: Could you tell us what attendance has been like today and just how many students have asked for (OFF-MIKE) crisis intervention team?

HAGEMANN: We have about 30 personnel on campus right now. There has been an outpouring of grief. When I walked through the campus just a while ago, I saw approximately 150 students being served at all grade levels, six, seven and eight.

Attendance today, I cannot give you I figure, but, obviously, it has been impacted and, therefore has diminished. But all week long, the attendance has been high. I believe that that sends a message that this community has a trust in this school and this school board and knows that we have resources prepared to meet these type of moments, these type of tragedies.

QUESTION: You know, the hope of finding Carlie is what kept these kids together all week and kept them going and obviously (OFF- MIKE) their schoolwork. How do you deal with that now?

HAGEMANN: You are correct. We have spoken favor into this case. All week long we've been optimistic. All week long we have celebrated the contribution of this young lady.

What we're doing now is giving them an opportunity to express themselves in a constructive fashion. Throughout the school there are cards being written. There are journals being made. There are huddle groups that are being supervised in the healing process. There are banners.

There will be an attempt and an ongoing exercise to make sure that every child has a way to properly express their gratitude for their knowledge of this young lady, to send their sentiments to the family and then to express their courage to this community.

QUESTION: How are Carlie's teachers coping with this?

HAGEMANN: The teachers are going through the same emotional roller coaster that children are. They have been on the edge of their seats all week long.

They are magnificent role models, however. They have stood tall and stayed the course. They know this is where they need to be right now.

We do have an opportunity with the crisis intervention team to have resources available for teachers. We have met with them throughout the week and we believe that they have the resources available to them so that over the weekend they can prepare themselves as individuals and as family members for Monday morning.


HAGEMANN: I'm sorry. Ma'am?

QUESTION: How did the students find out about this morning's developments?

HAGEMANN: Many of them had heard of it, probably through the television, radio or parental guidance. Those that had not heard about it, we had teachers in the rooms because we knew that the children would quickly network.

And then I was able to go over CCTV, which is closed-circuit television in the school, and share with them the heartbreaking news and to tell them they were here for them.

KAGAN: We've been listing into Principal Bob Hagemann, there describing probably no doubt one of the most difficult things he's had to do as principal, go over the P.A. system and announce the tragic end of the search for Carlie Brucia. The 11-year-old's body was found earlier this morning behind a church off of Interstate 75.

There is a man in custody, Joseph Smith, who's now been charged with her abduction and her murder.

There will be a prayer vigil, the principal announced, later tonight in Sarasota.


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