In the face of unspeakable tragedy, respecting those affected is of the upmost importance. On November 7th, two high school students died in what can only be described as a parent’s worst nightmare.
Schools should be a place of community for the underage youth. In more recent years, it has become a place where unthinkable nightmares take place. When parents send their kids to school, they expect them to be returned home, safe and sound. Unfortunately, this was not the case for two families in Santa Clarita, California.
A 16-year-old male student, Nathaniel Berhow, opened fire on his classmates in the Saugus High School’s quad. He used a .45-caliber pistol, shooting five students, and then shot himself shortly after. Two students of the five shot,, Gracie Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell,14, died shortly afterward. They were described as good students and will be greatly missed by the community and the student at Saugus High School. Three students were injured but have been released from the hospital and are expected to make a quick recovery.
On the day of the attack, students were taken to a near by park to be reunited with their families. They were able to retrieve their belongs left in the school the following week.
The male student who opened fire on his classmates died in the hospital on Friday, due to his self-inflicted gunshot wounds. According to police, there are no known motives for why Berhow opened fire. There is still on open investigation.
Last Friday, the town came together around the community-made memorial in Central Park (a park down the road from the school). Thousands attended the vigil, mourning the two that lost their lives. The school has canceled classes until December 2nd to respect the mourning families. The school has provided counseling classes and activities for the students to attend to help with the grieving process. The school is not requiring that students attend the classes.
The community has been incredibly patient with the students who are grieving and processing this event. Jordan Damian, freshman at Lafayette High School, stated, “The school can’t go back to normal after a situation like this. It is incredibly sad and emotional for everyone because you either knew those that died or you about that it could have been possibly been you. The school is doing a great job providing for its students.”
The school and the community are providing many resources and support for students and families. Schools are trying to think of ways of preventing this from happening again. Lafayette High School senior Morgan Schilemme, comment on the event saying, “I could never imagine this happening at Lafayette, but you always have to be careful and be aware of surroundings. Always speak up if something is not right.” Students and those involved in the school system can look for warning sign but because of the political climate, it is tough deciding what to do.
Our thoughts are with the students, families and faculty that will continue to grieve in the coming weeks.