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Letter: 'We Are Perry Hall, We Will Stand Tall'

A Perry Hall High alum reflects on the recent student shooting and community response.

Kira Kiladis Muller submitted the following as a letter to the editor.

As my eyes periodically well with tears, my heart continues to swell with gratitude. I am simply amazed and impressed with the actions of so many people who went beyond the call of duty on Monday, August 27, 2012.

At the school… Thank you to Mr. George Roberts, Mr. Steve Arnold, and the entire administration, faculty and staff of Perry Hall High School who, just three hours deep into the school year, acted swiftly and confidently in a crisis situation.  Thank you to Mr. Jesse Wasmer who put the needs of others before his own and selflessly answered the call to protect our children. He is the definition of a hero - knowing that he is not comfortable being called a hero - and we are blessed that he was in the cafeteria at that moment.  He is exactly the man I hope my boys will become.  Thank you to Mr. Wasmer’s parents for a job well done in raising an outstanding son, citizen and role model.  Thank you to the other teachers who were in the cafeteria and assisted in diffusing the situation.  They have remained nameless, but I hope they know that their actions have not gone unnoticed. Thank you to the teachers who remained stoic and strong for each child who was under their care. Can you imagine the chaos that would have ensued had 2200 students poured out onto the streets immediately following the shooting?  Thank you to the students who remained calm and compliant during the orderly and organized dismissal of each classroom. Their behavior was exemplary.

Surrounding the school… Thank you to the law enforcement personnel who were on the scene quickly, prepared for the worst and safely cleared every nook and cranny of a very large school.  Thank you to the emergency personnel who were swift to handle Daniel and gave him the care he needed.  Thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff at Shock Trauma who operated on Daniel and continue to provide treatment so he can heal. Thank you to the Baltimore County Public School system for creating and instituting a plan, providing crisis counselors for the students and teachers, and investing in an effective telecommunications system to advise the parents.

And on the streets… Thank you to the parents who were patient during the release of students, freely offering information and broad shoulders to lean on during the ordeal.  Thank you to Giant Foods for providing waters for the hundreds of parents who stood in wait in the heat.  Thank you to the greater Perry Hall community for your compassion, generosity and continued support.  Though Perry Hall High School covers a large geographic area, there is a strong sense of a tightly-knit community, Gator pride and allegiance that emanates throughout the surrounding and feeder neighborhoods.  There is no better place in which to live.

As 1983 graduates of Perry Hall High School, my husband and I never had any doubt where our four children would attend school once we moved to Kingsville.  With two graduated and successfully matriculated to the University of Maryland, and one who started her freshman year that fateful Monday, now, more than ever, I am confident that I have put my trust in a school and community that will serve them well.  From the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul, thank you to each and every one of the citizens and servants of the greater Perry Hall community.  You make the world a better place.

We are Perry Hall. We will stand tall.

Kira Kiladis Muller, PHHS ‘83

Red Dolphin September 05, 2012 at 10:20 AM
I see an american community pulling together, to start the healing process, having never had any kids at 56 , I had to stop and think whe one of my neigbors who has a daugther who teaches there said to me "the parents are scurrying to find out if was or was not their child " ( close to that ) this morning as I read this article a got a certain sypmathetic feeling,,,,,,,,and Im heairng that Rober Gladden has been indicted,
Cheryl September 05, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Thank you, Kira, for your eloquent and heartfelt words. My daughter and I are both graduates of PHHS. '82 and '12. I, too, was very happy to send my daughter to my Alma Mater. She received a terrific education and is well prepared for her college career.
Justin Fisher September 05, 2012 at 04:17 PM
As a graduate of Perry Hall (Class of 2012), this event has truly signified how tight the community of Perry Hall can be. I can say and will forever say that I am proud to be a part of this community as well as a graduate of PHHS. Once a gator, always a gator. I pray that Daniel does pull through, and when he does he will always have a strong community to back him up.
Jeanne September 09, 2012 at 07:38 PM
We moved to the Perry Hall area so our son could go to the high school, he graduated in 2011 and got a great education. Mr Roberts and all the rest of the staff at P.H.H.S. are good people and care about the students. I heard all the horror stories about being a volunteer in a high school and was very pleased to see they weren't talking about Perry Hall students. I met a group of students that were respectful, helpful, kind, etc... Even though my son graduated I am still involved with the school and very proud to be.

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