I finished reading They Call Me Mr. De by Frank DeAngelis. He is the principal that experienced the mass shooting at Columbine High School. He gives a bit of his own history as to how he became principal at Columbine HS. He shares his perspective of what happened that day. Needed lots of tissues to get through this chapter. Then the remainder of the book he discusses what he did to help the school and community heal from these tragic events. His dedication to helping the school heal is amazing. What he did after those events to help bring the school together and help strengthen them as a group are inspirational. He also shared his frustration with the Internet media and Hollywood for super imposing their own agenda on the events. Some of the out right lies Hollywood justified by “creative license.” Mr. De was frustrated because the community was struggling enough in their recovery without adding fictional sensationalism to make things worse. He talked about tightening security and actively visiting other schools experiencing what he went through. He used a time of tragedy to bring together the entire community. He worked hard at listening to every group on campus. He worked to make a plan that would prevent this type of incident from happening at other schools.
From reading this book, I recognize and better understand the changes at the high school I work at. I have a better grasp on what direction schools are going to bring unity within the school. I understand better why Columbine was so significant. It was the first mass shooting that the Internet Media went crazy giving information and false information with equal zeal. I appreciate that Mr. De barely mentioned the shooters other than the fact he read what they wrote before the shooting and he was thankful that most of their plans failed. Another thing I appreciate is through out his book he emphasized that he got counseling and he advised his staff and other staff with these type of traumatic events get counseling. He also openly cried over the incident which in turn gave the student body as a whole permission and grieve the teacher and students that suffered the consequences of 2 people choosing evil. There was no specific retaliation to any one person just a general hatred for all of their fellow students and teachers. He always remembers those that died.
I am choosing to read about people and events where great tragedy turns into strengthening and rebuilding. I am exploring how people choose resilience. What stands out in my mind about Mr. De is his religious faith, love of his students and staff, and his dedication to healing the community. I would not call his book light reading or entertainment. The words that come to mind are intense and inspiring.
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