It’s been a rough week for our community. And while we are currently commuting and therefore no longer living in the neighborhood, this is still our family. I’ve hesitated writing this post for several reasons. One of which is that our family was fortunate to only be indirectly affected by the events that transpired earlier this week.
However, we’ve received enough questions and concern by loved ones from out of state (including worried grandparents living overseas) I felt it would be appropriate to address them. As you read this, please understand these statements come from a parent who hasn’t had to deal with a child’s potentially life threatening injuries nor am I grappling with the realization that my child was the perpetrator. This makes my input rather easy to dispense.
On Tuesday morning there was an incident in the boys locker room at the high school Sunshine and Friends attend. A young man stabbed several students before turning the knife on himself. This was unprovoked and the investigation into motive is ongoing. Obviously, this caused quite a bit of havoc and the school was put on lock-down. While some of the injuries were serious, gratefully none were fatal and the latest news is that all are recovering.
Sunshine was in another class but had several friends either witness the event or were close by; even being told to hide somewhere in the girls locker room. I. CAN. NOT. IMAGINE. Even hearing this is chilling. They must have been terrified. I kinda want to hug every single one of those poor kids.
I didn’t even hear about it until after it was over. I had my phone off and had just left the grocery store when I noticed a text from a friend. It basically said ‘Have you talked with Sunshine? Some kids have been stabbed. The school is in lockdown.’
That’s a text no parent wants to get.
I immediately called my friend. As she filled me in, Sunshine texted me. ‘Mom, are you there? Can we talk?’ She was stuck in her first period classroom and practically whispered the updates. ‘I’m okay, Mom. The lockdown is about to be lifted.’
She seemed so calm, so normal. It’s obvious to me now she hadn’t really been able to process what had just happened. Because when they did actually lift the lockdown and I asked her if she wanted me to take her home her response was, ‘But then I would miss choir and seminary’.
It wasn’t until later that night, as most of the kids were in bed, that she utterly and completely fell apart. She sat on the couch and sobbed while He-Man just held her. I imagine this response was not unusual for the rest of the students who attend MVHS.
Local outlets reported it on their news casts that night as national news agencies picked it up as well. It was all very strange. They showed pictures with the school as the backdrop, frightened parents clinging onto their children and officers swarming the area. This is our school and these are our families.
These are people we see and talk to everyday. There is so much more to the story than the rest of the country could possibly see. It’s the part where we are left with hope. Unfortunately, it’s the part the rest of the world doesn’t get to know about.
They didn’t get to see how the principals of the surrounding schools mobilized immediately, communicating with the families, assuring them of their plans of action and reassuring the children of their safety.
It wasn’t widely reported that the entire incident lasted 6 minutes because the staff, the on-site officer and even a few students intervened which most likely meant fewer injuries.
They didn’t get to see how, as the students were asked to respect the privacy of those involved, they honored that request. And it wasn’t reported that the next day in a show of solidarity, many students, not only at Mountain View but also at surrounding schools, wore their Sunday best, suits and ties, dresses and skirts.
The news outlets didn’t stick around to see there were no pitchforks or torches, pointing fingers or wagging tongues casting blame…just a community eager to support all of those affected. When these friends and neighbors told each other they were praying for everyone involved. They meant it.
No one else got to see the little note fall out of Sunshine’s lunchbox. It was from her church leaders expressing their love for her. Little acts of kindness like this are not unusual and have been everywhere this week.
Most nightly news reports failed to mention the awesome display of love that came from rival schools. Huge butcher paper banners with messages of support cover Mountain View’s walls right now. All week texts, pictures and facebook posts have been passed around showing messages of love like these from all over the community.
Perhaps the most tender of all of these is the concern so many have shown for the family dealing with the reality of their son’s unknown future. In the circles we know best, the words are supportive. They are kind and compassionate. They are words of a community ready to mobilize in whatever way they can be helpful.
All of this brings me hope and I hope it does for you too.
I was reminded of that hope today as I picked up our kids from school. The afternoon exodus had begun and students were walking home, bundled up on this first freezing day of November. I noticed a boy and girl walking away from the high school. He’d just said something clever, his head bowed and smiling shyly because the girl he was with was laughing, obviously thinking he was brilliant. This was a happy thing to see.
It’s a shame the rest of the news world doesn’t get to see this.
We’re just a community of pioneer stock doing what we do: We are circling our wagons to protect our most vulnerable when they need us the most.