For nearly 20 years, I have traveled thousands of high schools and middle schools speaking at school assemblies and pouring my heart and soul into every school assembly reaching the hearts of teenagers and staff members. Today, my heart aches for the students of Chardon HIgh School and the teachers. My applause goes to the administration, local authorities, and the high school football coach as he chased the kid, TJ Lane, out of the building.
Listen, one school shooting is too much. Nearly every month, or so it seems, we deal with another one. The young man TJ Lane posted on his facebook page, “I want the world to bow at my feet!” and he also said, “Die, everyone Die!” This is very troubling.
Read what ABC News said about his family life:
Mueller described Lane as “a quiet kid. Freshman year he got into a ‘Goth’ phase and didn’t talk to that many people anymore. He never egged anybody on. He just went about his business.”
However, Lane’s family life had been disrupted by divorce and violence, WEWS reported. His parents divorced in 2002, and his father later served time in jail on assault and other charges, according to the station.
Lane allegedly opened fire with a handgun just before 8 a.m. in the school cafeteria where students were eating breakfast, authorities and witnesses said.
The shooter was chased out of the building by a teacher and later turned himself in to a passerby, authorities said.
I would like to keep my message very simple. When you as a student see something alarming or troubling, please take the responsibility to report such behaviors or facebook posts immediately. If you don’t know who to tell, tell your parents and let them make the right decisions but do something. Don’t stand there and not take this seriously.
I am in Ohio speaking tomorrow at Morgan High School, but as I was driving less than 90 miles from your school I wanted to detour and come and spend the night with the students talking about coming together and moving forward. I knew I couldn’t because this was too fresh and too recent, but my thoughts and prayers are with you all.
I am sorry to the Chardon Community. At a time like this, we have to allow ourselves to journey through the phases of loss and the questions of “Why?” We may never know the truth and the truth may never make sense, but we as a community need to embrace one another and come back together.
Prayers and thoughts are with you all!
** Jeff Yalden is a high school motivational speaker and speaks to high school assemblies about character education, suicide, teen bullying, leadership, respect, and responsibility. Jeff incorporates teen issues into his program and relates to all teens. If you are interested in Jeff speaking at your next high school assembly, please contact www.JeffYalden.com.