Leadership magazine Sept/Oct 2018 V48 No. 1 - Page 14

needs also became a sensitive matter. En- tire families were impacted by the tragedy as younger siblings of the high school stu- dents were emotionally affected. In several instances, young children slept at the foot of their parents’ bed for months. The lead- ers of the Hmong community met with the director of coordinated services. Among the agreements was a ceremony conducted by a Hmong shaman at the entrance of the damaged building. This was performed on a weekend to purify the site to enable Hmong students to attend classes there once again. The lessons learned are about the need to be highly sensitive to the different ways people in the community respond to tragedy. A committee met with the families of the four who were murdered. After months of planning and preparation, four sites were selected on campus for the erection of family memorials. The families designed the shrines. A plaque was fashioned on a large boulder and placed near the entrance to the school administration building com- memorating the dark day. A year later a Native American ceremony was held at the school. The ceremony was selected because it was neutral without conflicting with the spiritual values of the participating fami- lies. Once again, DeLapp managed the press during the event. Unexpected issues In any debacle of this magnitude the un- expected will occur, so district leadership needs to stay on top of everything. It was imperative, for example, for administrator roles be determined beforehand. While the superintendent and assistant superintendent for instructional services were on the Lind- hurst campus, the assistant superintendent of human resources remained at the district office to direct the ongoing functions of the district and act as the filter to the deluge of calls coming into the district offices. In the aftermath of any tragedy, major decisions will need to be made by district leaders. Seeking input from others, espe- cially experts, is critical. Once Lindhurst High school was reopened, we thought we could collect ourselves and refocus on our mission of providing each student in the district, each day with a meaningful 14 Leadership Not every community reacts to a trauma in the same way. Community rage, needing someone to blame, was something we faced immediately. learning experience. However, this be- came a challenge. Right after the school reopened we started receiving daily bomb threats. The FBI and the California High- way Patrol worked with us. Each time we evacuated the school and the sheriff ’s de- partment brought in bomb-sniffing dogs. No bombs were ever found. The CHP, based on their experience, told us that the threats would continue unless we refused to evacuate the school. The superintendent then made a difficult decision. After what had occurred the school was on edge, and to affirm that a bomb threat had been re- ceived and not evacuate the school was a huge risk. With the encouragement of law enforcement, the decision was made not to evacuate when the next threat was made. The school was not evacuated and the threats stopped. Another problem had to do with making the school safe, as many called for electrified fences around the school or placing armed guards at the school. Again, we listened to the experts. There was a constant theme with law enforcement officials that the answer to preventing school shootings did not lie in making schoo