In an emotional video message recorded days after his school was the site of the largest high school shooting in U.S. history, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Principal Ty Thompson put the focus on students, pledging to walk through the long recovery process together.
Seventeen people died after a former student opened fire in a building on the Parkland, Fla., high school campus Wednesday, and 15 more were injured.
“I promise you I will hug each and every one of you, as many times as you need, and I will hold you as long as you need me to, for all 3,300 of you, and your families,” Thompson said in a video he shared on Twitter, his voice cracking as he spoke directly to students. “And we will get through this together.”
Thompson thanked the school’s staff for following its safety protocols, which he says helped save lives. And he thanked first responders for their work that day. He said he’d received media inquiries and questions, but his primary focus is on his students.
“We lost 17 lives on Valentine’s Day. That’s supposed to be the international day of love,” Thompson said. “We’re going to take the love that we lost on Wednesday and we’re going to spread that over the next days, weeks, months and maybe even years.”
The school remained closed Thursday and Friday. As they work through logistical issues of starting classes again, district leaders have proposed demolishing the building where the shooting took place.
Read Education Week’s coverage of the Parkland school shooting, and the vocal response from its students:
- Parkland Students Want to Know: Will the Shooting at Their School Change Gun Laws?
- ‘I Didn’t Want Them to Panic': Amid Chaos, Teacher Sheltered Students in Fla. School
- Schools Chief Says No One Reported Alleged Shooter’s Troubling Social Media Posts
- As Parkland Community Grieves, Experts Predict Long Road to Recovery
- Musician, Budding Scholars, Wrestling Coach, Soccer Player Among Fla. Shooting Victims
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.