As you know, a truly awful situation took place last Thursday when members of our community chose to have a gunfight on school property. Since that time, we’ve shared with anyone who would listen that our staff, students, safety team and the Lorain Police Department are to be credited for their roles in keeping our children physically and emotionally safe during an event no one should ever have to experience.
By now I hope you’ve seen the video of Officer Gerace sprinting toward the gunfire. I hope you’ve learned that Lorain Police Chief Jim McCann was on site throughout, commanding the situation from the schools where our staff and children were in need of protecting. And I also hope you’ve heard the words of Officer Gerace and all the police officers working on our behalf that day, who humbly stated, “We were just doing our jobs,” when thanked for all they did that day to prevent our district from being added to the long and terrible list of tragedies as a result of gun violence in our nation’s schools.
In the days since this event I’ve also heard story after story —especially from our very grateful parents —about the many, many heroes who we are incredibly fortunate to have walking the halls of our schools. Our staff truly shined, demonstrating our district motto to “Lead with love.”
It’s one thing to execute a plan that we “drill” on a regular basis. However, that wouldn’t work in this situation because we can’t “simulate dismissal” during a drill. Regardless, our staff knew what to do. The people who you entrust to the education and care of your children responded quickly and admirably to a legitimate threat — and as a result of the relationships they’ve established, the sense of calm they provided, all their actions both big and small, our students, their families and other staff remained safe — physically and emotionally.
At no time was this more obvious to me than when I spoke to a parent whose child was in lockdown for a couple hours after school should have let out. She shared how afraid she was for her daughter. She was certain that she would have heard from us if her daughter was hurt, so she knew her daughter was physically safe. But that didn’t ease any concern she still had that her daughter would leave the building traumatized as a result of the experience, which included gunfire, a full lockdown and police everywhere. Her fears quickly faded when she saw her daughter exit the building with a big smile on her face.
I want to thank all of our wonderful staff for keeping our children safe and calm. Their leadership and demeanor prevented this awful experience from being the traumatizing event to our children that without their love and care, it clearly would have been.
Our schools and our community are special because of the caring adults we have who serve our students and our families in our schools everyday. To everyone in the community, if you see a member of the Lorain Police Department, please thank them for accepting the responsibilities for which they’ve sworn a duty, and if you see a member from the Lorain City Schools staff, please do the same for showing that same dedication — we are blessed to be surrounded by some truly talented and caring people.
Thanks for all you do,
Jeff Graham, Superintendent
Lorain City Schools