My friend Sara recently left her job in Wisconsin and accepted a new position as the Director of Public Relations for an Ohio school district. When Sara told me about the job, she was bubbling with enthusiasm.
“I get to celebrate the students and showcase all of their hard work and talents. I get to recognize all of the great things this group accomplishes every single day.”
She rattled off her communication plans, including enhancing their social media presence and updating the school websites.
Sara couldn’t wait to get started.
Then on February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and everything changed. While Stoneman Douglas High School is in Parkland, Florida, the effects were felt all the way to Ohio.
“We instantly had copy-cat threats at our high school,” Sara told me. “It was horrible. We expelled two students in a one week period. One said he was going to ‘burn the school down.’ The other said he was going to ‘shoot the school up.’”
They had other threats on a regular basis. While none of them were acted out—most claimed that they were just joking—the school executives took every threat seriously.
Sara’s job instantly changed. Her celebration of students was put on hold. She worked closely with the school’s superintendent and together they tried to stay one step ahead. But it wasn’t easy. The emotion of if all took its toll on Sara. Every day she would leave for home exhausted from stress.
So what did this school district do next?
They made a few phone calls. They held a lot of meetings. And they formed an alliance.
They reached out to a number of local churches for help. These churches would act as counselors. They would offer advice on how to communicate with the student population. They would suggest ideas on how to calm the fears.
In other words, this Ohio school district turned to God.
It’s not often that a public school system has the courage to embrace faith as a solution.
Sara still has a lot of work to do. She knows that the road ahead will be challenging. But she now knows she’s not traveling down this road alone.
The next time you’re experiencing a difficult situation, think of Sara and the Ohio school district. Remind yourself of who you are and what you believe.
Have the courage to simply say, “with God, all things are possible.”
Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.