After a challenging week for students, faculty, and staff at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, education leaders and a current student spoke at an outdoor press conference on campus.
In the wake of last week's school shooting that led to the death of 15-year-old William Chavis Raynard Miller Jr., Mount Tabor Principal Ed Weiss thanked community members for their unwavering support. He referred to the students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff as family and described the healing process for all concerned as taking baby steps together.
Student body president William Burns said it's been a tough week, and he encouraged his fellow Spartans to lean on one another, and the resources available to them.
"We have a crisis control team that I'm really appreciative for," said Burns. "I'm appreciative also for our law enforcement that was there who rushed to our school to help us students and put it on the line for us. I want to also very much thank some teachers because I know some teachers who are first-hand struggling with what happened, but instead, they were very comforting to us the day the events took place."
Looking ahead, after-action reviews are already underway at the school level — gauging the effectiveness of lockdown procedures on campus, food and restroom access, and transporting students to safety. And on Tuesday, an internal review was held to determine district-level responses to the shooting including interactions with law enforcement partners.
Schools Superintendent Tricia McManus said analyzing security measures is important, but equally so is the need for preventative measures.
"When it comes to counseling, when it comes to mental health support, when it comes to social and emotional learning and all the things that have to happen from the time students are in elementary school as they go into middle school — you know, mentoring — all of those things are critical to lifelong decisions that students make later," said McManus.
She said there are approximately 30 social workers currently in place covering 82 schools district-wide, and while each campus is equipped with counselors, she said there aren't nearly enough to go around. McManus said next week's after-action review will be an external one with the school district's law enforcement partners.