Thursday, October 2, 2003

Holmes teacher's death serves as warning for all

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - In life, math teacher Tara Greene was a bright, outgoing woman who was a supportive friend and instructor to her students at Holmes Junior High School.

Since her brutal death May 4, the 28-year-old Lakeside Park mother has come to symbolize Northern Kentucky victims of domestic violence.

On Wednesday, Tara's parents, Karen and Bob Barrett, spoke publicly about their daughter's situation for the first time, in hopes of helping another family avoid their pain.

The Florence couple served as the keynote speakers for Northern Kentucky's ninth annual Day of Peace observance in Covington's MainStrasse Village. Observed as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the 90-minute ceremony remembered victims of domestic violence.

Through poetry, brief remarks and music by the Holmes Senior High Band, Tara's students paid tribute to their beloved teacher.

"On May 4 of this year, exactly one month before Tara's 29th birthday, she was taken from us in a selfish, senseless act of demonic domestic violence,'' Tara's mother said. "There is no word that has been written or spoken that can describe the pain and the agony that our once very happy, once very ordinary, once very middle-class family has gone through since that time.''

Instead of planning for their retirement years, the Barretts are grieving the loss of their daughter and raising their 7-year-old grandson, ChiAn.

Court records say Dennis R. Greene Sr. told police he slashed his wife's throat because she had let their young son go outside unsupervised. Greene faces a Nov. 12 murder trial in his wife's death. If convicted on the murder charge, he faces a maximum sentence of life.

"Domestic violence takes place in homes in all neighborhoods and involves people from different walks of life,'' Mrs. Barrett said. She urged families to teach their children about date rape and abuse by partners, just as they teach them about illegal drug use and child abuse.

Victims advocate Debbie Culberson of Blanchester also recounted her daughter Carrie's year-long battle with an abusive boyfriend before she disappeared in August 1996, never to be seen again. Her boyfriend, Vincent Doan, later was convicted of her murder.

Speakers urged the public to report suspected abuse and to support victims in their attempts to break the cycle of violence.

"I'm sure that the last thought that went through Tara's head was, 'I can't believe you're really doing this to me,''' Mrs. Barrett said.


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