Massachusetts

Trees Honoring Late Teacher Cut Down at Natick School: ‘Why Would Anyone Do This?'

School officials say it was part of a class gift from fourth grade students at Bennett-Hemenway Elementary School in Natick

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Students, parents and school officials in Natick, Massachusetts, are upset after someone cut down trees that were planted one by one as a memorial to honor a beloved teacher who died in 2019.

"There's a lot of sad things going on in the world, and that seems like it's a very unnecessary thing to add to everything," one woman shared.

School officials say the trees were part of a class gift from fourth grade students at Bennett-Hemenway Elementary School. They raised the money themselves.

"They're upset, and why would anyone do this to our campus," asked Natick Superintendent Dr. Anna Nolin. "They're really young people invested in their school, so they don't understand why someone would take this step."

Eight-year-old Kelsey says she saw the damage and wondered why the trees were no longer there.

"I think it's sad," she shared.

The Natick Public Schools superintendent says they came into the building last week and found the trees had been cut. Nolin says whoever did it went into the school's shed and used their gardening tools to commit the senseless act.

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"These are the kind of things you don't like to explain to young people who've worked so hard for this," Nolin said.

Parents are hoping those responsible will see the pain they have caused and one day grow to make wiser decisions.

"It's unfortunate. I'm guessing they probably didn't even know the impact and probably didn't realize it was planted in someone's honor," parent Courtney McSweeney said, "so hopefully if they had, it probably would've led them down a different path."

The superintendent said police are now investigating, and that neighbors have already offered to help buy new trees for the school.

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