This morning you may have read the story of Zach Hovland’s Jack o’lanterns, the Gray Middle school students who smashed them, and the Gray students who brought new ones to his house.
Zach, who is 22 and has Noonan syndrome, was delighted with the good kids’ gesture, and accepted their apology for their fellow-students’ cruelty.
If only the story had ended there.
It did not, as Zach’s mom, Athena Elrod, let us know this morning. Here is her e-mail:
Our afternoon with the students from Gray Middle School was wonderful, quite an uplifting experience that left us feeling good. We hung the hand drawn cards in our front window, wanting the students to see that we appreciated the cards and thought them beautiful enough to share with the world.
Unfortunately, our evening wasn’t quite as wonderful. Around 8:00 PM the pumpkins we received from the students, plus one of the pumpkins we had carved and one that wasn’t carved were thrown against our house and smashed in the street. We had just gone out, probably five minutes earlier and lit the candles in the pumpkins. They threw a lit pumpkin at the house. When the pumpkins hit the house, particularly the garage door, it sounded like a bomb going off.
For me, this felt like retaliation for my saying something about the incident. My mom was still here visiting when this happened. She drove around the blocks surrounding my neighborhood, no one else had their pumpkins smashed.
We cleaned up the mess and called the police. They, of course, can’t or won’t do anything and asked us to file an online report. Zach was scared and disappointed that the police wouldn’t come out, he so desperately wanted to feel protected and needed ongoing reassurance of our safety. I told him the police would catch the people and stop them from coming back and hurting us or anyone else. I wish that were true.
I wanted to provide you with an update for the story. It doesn’t quite provide the happy ending I hoped for.