The students of Chardon High School can use all the good mojo in the world right now. A day after classmate TJ Lane allegedly shot up the northeast Ohio school, the death of Demetrius Hewlin brings to three the number of children who have died (a second, Russell King, died this morning), and two more injured students have a long road ahead of them.
But as we mourn the children whose lives are cut short, it seems only appropriate that it would be Chardon's kids who have been shining a light on the good that remains in their community: their teachers. The kids' tributes to their heroes on Twitter in the hours since the shooting are among the most moving to those of us watching sadly from our own communities.
The kids have used words like "seriously incredible," "selfless," and "hero" to describe Chardon's assistant football coach Frank Hall, a father who has now been identified as the man who put his own life at risk as he chased the shooter out of the building, and math teacher Joseph Ricci, who rescued one of the wounded students from the hallway, pulling him into a classroom and administering first aid until paramedics could take over. Their words are bittersweet for what they represent -- a tragedy that has hit a school, a place where kids are supposed to feel safe.
And yet, these tributes to the teachers represent something good and pure too: a sign that even as the world has turned upside down, the kids in Chardon still feel like there are people they can depend on. Teenagers and teachers have a complicated relationship. On the one hand, they are a direct, in-your-face representative of "the man." On the other, they're a trusted adult who can help them negotiate the difficult path to adulthood.
It can only be a good sign that kids at Chardon are willing to lean on these people in this difficult time. They need people like these heroic teachers -- and the unsung folks who haven't been called out in the press too -- to help them in what will likely be a long and complicated recovery.
Did these tributes give you hope?
Image via Twitter