The morning after a gunman killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida, La Salle's Vice Principal of Student Life Brian Devine shared his thoughts and prayers with students:
In the aftermath of the tragic shooting at a Florida high school, we are left with questions, concerns, and often a feeling of helplessness. While we add our prayers and thoughts to those from our government leaders, we are left waiting for significant change to be made in our country to make our schools safe places to learn and grow.
So in addition to prayers, I’d like to add a few words about the changes we have made and that we continue to make to ensure La Salle is safe. Over the last five years, we initiated a number of safety changes: We rebuilt the front of our school to move our main office to a visible place where visitors must check in and be issued a visitor pass. We developed the position of Campus Safety Officer and hired Mr. Weichold who is responsible for responding to safety concerns from outside or inside our school. All of our exterior doors are locked throughout the day – as long as no one is propping them open.
We have drills and protocols in place to be sure our school is prepared to respond to safety concerns. Finally, we have a tremendous team of counselors who support you academically and socially, and teachers who place their relationships with you at the front of their minds and hearts.
But the most important part of our school safety plan is each of you. Each of you sitting in your desks, in these classrooms, in this school building play a critical role in ensuring that La Salle is a safe place to attend school. We know that most often, the young people who engage in acts of violence at schools are struggling with feeling disconnected and isolated and lonely and perhaps feeling bullied and tormented. We need each of you to pay attention to how your classmates and friends are feeling. We need you to watch out for a student who may be sitting alone at lunch or waiting for an invitation to join a group or may be feeling sad.
We need you to act with kindness, compassion, and empathy toward one another. We need you to think about how your text messages and snap stories and Instagram posts and After School posts and memes may make other students feel. Are you being insensitive, hurtful, or harassing? Are you showing care for one another?
Most importantly, if you see or hear about something that sounds unsafe or threatening or violent either online or in person, we need you to share that concern with a teacher or a counselor or an administrator so we can respond and work with you to keep La Salle safe.
So my prayer is that we can live our banners more fully – that we can respect all persons, see the presence of God in our classmates, and truly be a more inclusive community.