Hebrew Academy high school students and staff came together this Thursday for a special assembly to discuss the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, just over an hour north of Miami Beach.
Assistant Principal Rabbi Assaraf reassured students that they are safe and that school security is ready for any type of situation.
“Our school security is extremely vigilant and is equipped with high-tech technology cameras and barriers,” Assaraf said. “In an event like this, everyone should reexamine their current safety procedures. That said, that does not necessarily mean that we feel that we are any less safe now. The administration, with the guidance of our chief of security, is always talking, is always discussing ways to ensure that our students, which is our number one priority, are safe.”
School psychologist Dr. London spoke to students about how to recognize signs that a fellow student is troubled. She pointed out that there are many common patterns and signs among school shooters, and students have a role in preventing attacks. They need to be aware of the red flags and, most importantly, tell someone. Dr. London also offered students a healing message about the importance of caring for one another.
“This is a tragic reminder that we have to do a better job taking care of each other and treating each other with kindness and compassion,” said Dr. London. “We are responsible for one another. When we harm each other with unkind words or cast people aside or reject others for no good, then we are also part of the problem.”
The assembly then morphed into a discussion among students and staff about the shooting.
Many students expressed shock and grief about the tragedy.
“I was actually just now looking at this interview with this girl on the ‘Today Show.’ She was talking, and they asked about her friend who was shot and she started crying, and she said she didn’t make it and that really hit me, and it was one of those moments,” said Ezrah Sultan (12th). “It’s something you pray it doesn’t get near you or anybody else, and I just hope that we don’t have to hear about any sort of tragedy like that again.”
Many students felt that the assembly was much needed and handled appropriately.
“I’m very grateful that the school addressed it because I think a lot of students were curious and scared and confused,” said Michal Cohen (12th). “I really think the assembly cleared everything up and informed students what’s going on.”
By: Rina Reich (12th Grade)