William S. Hart Union High School District officials discussed healing during their first board meeting since the Saugus High School shooting left three students dead and injured three more last week.
During the Wednesday night meeting, board President Bob Jensen opened with a statement from the board that not only honored the victims, but also spoke to how the district will move forward.
“As we continue to process what has occurred and contemplate the harsh reality that the existence of unexplainable pain can provoke harm, even death, our focus now is on healing,” said Jensen. “You all know, as I do, that no words can adequately soothe or comfort the families whose children were injured. No words will ever take away the shock that riveted us to our core.”
Shirts were handed out for before the meeting, with the word “Strong” written on the front, with the “S” from the Saugus High logo. Jensen then led the audience in a moment of silence.
While the board members shared their thoughts, mostly through tears or attempting to hold them back, a number of those in the audience joined with them in crying. At the front of the room were four poster boards that read, “Saugus we love you.”
“I fully believe that the love we’ve seen in the last few days is a demonstration of the culture we’ve developed in Santa Clarita and beyond,” said board member Steve Sturgeon. “We have roughly 23,000 students, and to lose three is too many. So we will move forward as the president said, and we will do it to the best of our ability.”
“The way the community has come together in support of the schools, the staff, others and our first responders is just phenomenal,” said board member Joe Messina. “And I want to thank you all for doing that.”
“I’ve learned the tragedy won’t break us,” said board member Cherise Moore. “It’s OK to cry, it’s OK to hurt, because that’s a part of healing, that’s a part of my healing.”
Linda Storli, the board’s clerk, took time to commend the teachers who had acted upon their training and taken the correct action to save student lives.
“I hope I never, ever, ever, ever have to make a speech like this again,” Storli said.
Jensen said the district would be providing additional therapeutic and counseling services to students at Saugus High School.
“These activities, as well as future instruction, will include a very important focus on the aspect of life, which is learning how to confront complex emotions,” said Jensen. “We all share the same goal of putting pain in its place so that we may move forward individually and collectively.”
“We’ve all heard the saying that actions speak louder than words,” said Jensen. “Accordingly, we go forward with a focus on our actions.”