Tulsa Schools Release Balloons In Memory Of Terence Crutcher

Friday, September 23rd 2016, 8:36 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Students and staff at Kipp Elementary paused before school got out for the day to reflect on Terence Crutcher's life with a balloon release.

Terence Crutcher's daughter is in sixth grade at Kipp Elementary. Teachers say she's been in school all week, and the word "strong" doesn't even begin to describe her.

About 100 students released balloons Friday afternoon in Terence Crutcher's honor.

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Teachers say after a week of conversations in the classrooms, the students are grasping the magnitude of what happened when Terence died. 

Principal Andrew McRae spoke with kids before the balloon release, telling them their feelings matter.

"We know that students were having the conversations, we knew students had seen the video, we knew that they were hurting, and we felt it was important as people, as humans, to stop and grieve as a community," he said.

Kipp Elementary wasn't the only school that took time out of the day to remember Crutcher's life. Tulsa Community College also held a ceremony and balloon release at its northeast campus.

Crutcher was enrolled in a music appreciation class this fall; and Friday, his love for music was made known to everyone.

The ceremony started with a moment of silence, but the room soon filled with music, as Lawerence Rosenborough performed Terence's favorite song, "I Won't Complain."

Joseph Schnetzer shared the story of when he first met Terence on campus and learned he was studying music. He thought one day he would see him perform.

"He didn't waste a moment,” Schnetzer said. “He took that opportunity and just like we heard Lawerence a moment ago, he broke out in the most amazing, heartfelt, powerful rendition of Amazing Grace."

Stories shared by other faculty, staff and students allowed people who didn't know him to learn more about Terence.

African American Student Association president, Taylor Finley said, "It, you know, makes you feel good - to remember those things about that person. Remember the light and joy in a person, what made them a human."

A balloon release followed, providing the TCC community, and others who just wanted to show support - a chance for closure.

The college also offered counseling services for anyone who needed it.