Marjory Stoneman Douglas High principal Ty Thompson exuded deep emotion and a positive view forward in his first public comments since Wednesday’s mass shooting that killed 17 people.
In the two-minute video posted on the school’s website and YouTube, the Parkland school leader called the shooting "an unthinkable act of violence" and said: "My heart is breaking for the victims, families and our entire Stoneman community."
Thompson also said in the video: "We lost 17 lives on Valentine’s Day. That’s supposed to be the international day of love. We’re going to take the love that we got lost on Wednesday, we’re going to spread that over the next days, weeks, months, maybe even years."
He took a deep breath.
"The love you shared and continue to share will help us get through these trying times," Thompson said. "And, Eagles, I promise you I will hug each and every one of you as many times as you need and I will hold you as long you need me to for all 3,300 of you and your families. And we will get through this together. Our community is strong, our students are strong, we will persevere in these trying times."
Thompson thanked students and staff for following school protocol ("I truly believe lives were saved because of those protocols"), first-responders who swarmed the campus after the shooting began ("I’ve never seen such a force of power get here in such a short amount of time.") and other shcools that offered help and support to Stoneman Douglas staff and students.
He closed by saying, "As you can see in the media, my staff and my students are living our motto: Be Positive, Be Passionate and Be Proud To Be An Eagle. We are MSD Strong. Continue to send us your thoughts and prayers. And, God bless the Stoneman Douglas Eagle Nation."
David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal