WAUWATOSA -- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says he hopes Monday's tragedy in his hometown of Wauwatosa, where an 11-year-old boy was hit and killed by a train near 68th and State, will be a teaching opportunity for all parents. Walker told reporters Wednesday he is praying for the family of Joey Kramer, who was killed when he stepped on the tracks while walking to school. Meanwhile, students and faculty at Joey's school, Longfellow Middle School in Wauwatosa, are trying to cope.
The thoughts of children faced with the sudden death of their classmate are written on banners hanging on the walls at Longfellow Middle School in Wauwatosa. The school principal says Monday's news that Kramer was struck and killed by a train was met with disbelief. "A lot of 'how does that happen?' 'Oh my gosh.' 'Are you sure?'" Longfellow Middle School Principal Jason Galien said.
Substitute teachers were brought in for some who were unable to teach on Monday. Students gathered in the auditorium to share memories of Kramer. "Joey was a fun kid, full of life. He'd walk in the classroom and you knew Joey was there. Joey was a jokester - a big Peter Gabriel fan," Galien said.
It was perhaps Kramer's love for music that was part of the tragedy. Police say Kramer was wearing earbuds, probably listening to music, as he walked to school, and never heard the train coming. In band, Kramer played the trumpet. "We had him working on a solo for a contest. He was doing well and really enjoyed playing," Kramer's band teacher said.
"Joey was a great young man - a great spirit about him. He loved playing trumpet. He would come in and tell us about successes he had when he was practicing," Kramer's band teacher said.
On a Facebook post open to all, Kramer's mother wrote that Joey was an amazing child who "had great plans to learn another language, join all the engineering clubs at school, travel the world, master the trumpet, play professional football for the Eagles, and become CEO of Lego."
Longfellow Middle School's principal says he waited until he got home Monday to react, as many other parents did as well. "I could get in touch with my emotions, and I rushed to grab my little guy," Galien said.
Kramer's funeral is Thursday. A visitation will be held at Church and Chapel in Waukesha starting at 4:30, with a service at 7:00. Kramer's mom writes that everyone is welcome.