“Our students, our pack, no lone wolves” is the theme of Friday’s national day of action for school safety at Tomah High School.
Teachers, staff and parents will meet at the front door of every Tomah Area School District building from 7:20-7:50 a.m. in a display of unity. The day was chosen in recognition of the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, during which two boys shot and killed 12 of their fellow students and one teacher before taking their own lives.
“This is a chance for the teachers to let the students know that the teachers support them,” said Tomah Education Association co-president Nathan Jungmeyer. “We want them to know that they deserve a safe place to learn.”
Jungmeyer said the issue of school safety was reignited earlier this year, when a student armed with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle and multiple magazines shot and killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The aftermath triggered students nationwide speaking out on school safety and gun laws, and Jungmeyer said Tomah teachers support students who are engaged in the debate.
Jungmeyer acknowledged that issues regarding gun control are very polarizing, but he believes Friday’s event will be a unifying experience.
“We know that (school safety) instead of being a divisive issue, it’s something that really unites the community,” Jungmeyer said. “That is what we really want.”
In addition to greeting students before school, teachers will sit down with students in the commons area during lunch.
Jungmeyer said it’s important for students, teachers and the community to send a message that all students belong. The flyer promoting the event contains the Rudyard Kipling quote: “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” The quote has special meaning in Tomah, which took the Timberwolves name as its mascot 10 years ago.
“We know that here in Tomah, we’re all Timberwolves, and we’re all part of the pack,” Jungmeyer said.