Not a month prior to the tragedy of the terrorist attack on Barcelona, Spain, world language teacher Judit Pauling was a tourist in her own hometown, taking a stroll along Las Ramblas of the scenic Catalonian capital. Pauling visits Barcelona once every two years with her husband and children to visit her extended family. The memory, however, has now turned cold as the terrible reality of the attacks reaches further than just the immediate residents of Spain, impacting as far south as Pine View.
Pauling was teaching when she was first informed of the events that occurred, having received a text message around noon from a friend that expressed concern for her family’s safety. According to Pauling, she was able to get in contact with her family during her lunch period. “Everybody that I reached out to was safe, but … I still have a lot of friends that I didn’t contact. It really was stressful … the rest of the day, just not knowing that everybody was okay,” she said.
Armed forces had been preparing for the possibility of a terrorist attack within the last few months, according to an internet article published by The New York Times. However, it seems despite recent arrests made by authorities, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria struck the nation hard, and the carnage that wreaked havoc in the city of Barcelona was the worst terrorist attack to hit Spain within 13 years.
Despite the preventative measures and arrests, Pauling found the efforts to fall short in terms of security and suggested an increase in the police presence within the area. “I don’t know how else they [Spain] can control that [terrorism]. It seems like now Europe is a target.”
Students as well as staff members have rallied behind Pauling to demonstrate their support during this time of hardship. “It must be difficult for her to cope with the attacks, but we all send her love and support,” seventh-grader Triston Parsons said. Pauling affirms that it is this unrelenting encouragement from colleagues and students alike that has helped her cope during this period of loss. “I felt supported, and that meant a lot,” she said.