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OPINION: How Perry Hall Copes with Tragedy Matters

The new challenge is how we recover from the devastating events that took place last week at Perry Hall High School.

Like most readers of Perry Hall Patch, I had close connections to individuals who directly faced last Monday's . My niece was in the middle of the first day of her junior year at the school and experienced the turmoil and confusion. Additionally, a close friend of our family, who works as a social studies teacher at the school, happened to have lunch duty in the school cafeteria, and saw firsthand as this horrific event took place.

My immediate feelings after learning of the school shooting were a mix of deep sadness tinged with a bit of anger. The sadness was certainly understandable.  While I didn't personally know the victim , as a parent I could clearly relate to what his parents must have been feeling. I immediately reflected back to a time when I was and his future.

The flash of anger I experienced was probably not unique either. I have always had a hard time in understanding the purpose behind bad things happening to good people, or to good communities. I suppose this is where faith in a higher power comes in. I have always considered myself a spiritual person, who believes there is a deity that watches over us as we live our lives. Whether referred to as God, Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Allah, or by some other name, it seems that we all yearn for a supreme being to place our trust in, especially during times of turmoil.

Seemingly needless pain and suffering, like what took place as a consequence of last week's shooting at Perry Hall High School, are often the source of a personal crisis of faith for individual believers. A person might ask, "Why would a loving and caring God allow events like this to take place?" I know that I found that question running through my own mind throughout the day last Monday. 

As I reflected on this question, there has only been one answer that really made any sense to me. In pondering this issue, I looked back to that many of us have experienced—the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The one positive takeaway from that horrible day was the manner in which the tragedy brought our nation together. People from all across America were united in a common spirit of resolve to of that historic day. 

Knowing this, it seems to me that what Perry Hall chooses to do as a community in the at our high school is what will really make a difference for the future. Rather than get mired in our emotions, we should seek out opportunities to of purpose. Residents of Perry Hall truly can turn tragedy into triumph, if we only choose to care enough and to try hard enough. 

Linda September 03, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Thank you for your article. I too had a niece who started Perry Hall Middle School that day & I too thought that this was not a good start. After reading your article, I agree with everything you stated. My daughter is also in Perry Hall Middle & she experienced the sadness & felt a sense of community when they wore their tee shirts showing support for Daniel. My only comment to what you stated is, I hope that this also becomes a learning lesson for students/faculty/parents. We need to look at why this individual felt like he needed to bring a gun to school to protect him from what he viewed as a threat to him. I worry that we are viewing him as "troubled" rather than really looking at the "bullying" problem. I do think schools are trying to address it, but if I were to give schools are report card, I would say they are failing. My daughter was also a victim of bullying & when that happened, it makes a person very mean themselves & defensive. I worry what my daughter will do to protect herself. I think students need to know that faculty & staff are behind them if they bring a problem to their attention. There really is no excuse to allow bullying to occur. I think they need to have a "no tolerance" policy, the same way they had a "no tolerance" policy on bringing drugs to school. Let's learn from this, lets teach our children tolerance & to defend those who are bullied. Let's not look at this as an "isolated" incident but perhaps a sign that change is needed.
Jeanne September 03, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I think the students and staff of P.H.H.S. have shown amazing courage. Not only did they go back to their school the next day many students prayed for Daniel, everyone that was in the school, famlies, alumni, community and Bobby before they went into the building at a prayer vigil organized by students. I am very impressed with the students handling this situation so well. As far as Bobby it wasn't bullying that caused him to bring a shotgun & amunition to the school the first day of school it was Bobby's decision. He does need to pay for his crimes, on the adult level not as a minor, and he also needs to get help. I hope he gets both.
Mike Fisher September 03, 2012 at 05:50 PM
My neighbor's little girl was very close to where this shooting happened as she attends PHHS, but I have not had a chance to talk to her about it yet (been busy). Bullying has been around forever and teachers do nothing to stop it nor do schools in general. It is seen as cool because, of course, you have "in" crowds and the "nerd" crowds, just as an example. If you tell on them, you're just a tattle tale and get more crap for it. Let me tell you, young kids are vicious people when it comes to this stuff and have this pack mentality, like wolves and these are usually among the most popular kids in school. They will threaten and scare people into not "telling on them", make fun of handicapped people, kids with glasses. What I REALLY want to know is what was going on at the home of Mr. Gladden? Kids raised by good parents don't do this. If you're kid is one of these bullies and just plain bad people, guess what? It's not the caffiene, it's not the TV, it's not the video games, it's not the diet, it's not drugs, it's YOU! As parents, you suck and so does your kid! I guarantee you this kid has big problems at home, but of course the media NEVER delves into this (unless I missed this information). I want to know his home life and how F'd up it was to make someone do this. Parents don't seem to know how to raise kids anymore and just FTR, I am not saying ALL parents, but too many of them fall into this category. Stop having so many damn kids!
Tracey Newton September 04, 2012 at 12:47 AM
I as a parent of a senior in Perry Hall High feel the students and staff if Perry Hall have showen their great strength to go on and not allow this most horrible event define them. I do feel Baltimore County does need to be more accountable about bullying and I feel Tuesday town meeting really needs to touch on this. As a parent I truly can not see how some form of bullying was not a factor in this matter and feel the police cheif and some Baltimore county employes don't want to be open on this fact and if we as a community don't get a handle on this matter we may see a repeat of this horrible event.
Mike Fisher September 04, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Bullies were around when I was in school 20 years ago. From my personal experience and what I've learned through life, these are issues that largely stem from family and home life. Abused kids go on to abuse other kids, it's basic psychology. I want to know what was going on at home. Where did he learn this was a good way to handle problems? Violence and ultimately, the death of a young child? This is a topic no one wants to even touch, it's an accountability issue for parents and family life. The cycle of abuse is vicious and this is coming from someone who was once a part of that cycle, but I chose to break that cycle instead of continue it. Things like child abuse lead to bullying and no one wants to even touch this issue. Child abuse is rampant in today's society and it goes largely ignored or dismissed. This is just one possible result. Child abuse creates criminals and abusers of others. Parents just don't know how to raise kids anymore, that's just my opinion, of course. Prayers go out to the victims of this horrible crime. Bullying is only a symptom of other factors, but it is not the root, the root is child abuse, IMO, and raising children without values or with the wrong values, problem solving skills and learning rational ways to deal with emotions and feelings. Violence is glorified in today's society whether it's war, TV, movies or whatever, but that's a whole other discussion. People are fascinated with violence and desensitized to it in a way.
Tim September 04, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Mike: Although I'd strongly suggest you get more familiar with this thing called formatting , and paragraphs (it really helps your readability factor...really) I do agree with you (once again) . Just seriously, take that reply, and imagine it as 3 or 4 smaller paragraphs. You've got a good deal of intelligent things to continue saying..make them more easy to digest. Trust me, it'll work better for you.
Mike Fisher September 04, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Haha, everytime I space things out, it takes up like 20 characters for some reason and gives less space to talk or I would space it out more often. That's the only reason I don't do that, but I get your drift. Thanks for the constructive criticism.

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