KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Olathe East High School principal and district superintendent sent messages to parents expressing hope and thankfulness after the first school day following Friday's shooting.
"What a day. For those who felt ready to return to school, we welcomed them back to the building with an outpouring of support and love from our community," principal Kerry Lane said in an email. "All day long, we saw support in every corner of our building with advisory time to process together, numerous counselors rotating throughout classrooms and hallways, as well as some full-time counseling staff members available in our library for students who needed additional support."
Many came to express support for the students Monday, including various Father's Clubs in the area, therapy dogs, counselors and parents.
"I have seen our community rally around Olathe East again and again as they continue to process last Friday’s unimaginable event. Today was no different," Superintendent Dr. Brent Yeager said in his message. "Thank you to the countless parents, families, alumni, and community members who showed up early this morning to get this week started off on a good note."
However, Lane noted that returning to normal would be a process.
"As a reminder, our main priority for this week is to reestablish a sense of comfort and safety among our students and staff," Lane said. "We are encouraging all students and staff members to pace themselves and for those who are not ready to return quite yet – we are sending you all the love and support from Olathe East."
Lane and Yeager also asked Olathe families and students to wear orange and blue Wednesday in a show of solidarity with Olathe East.
"This Wednesday, March 9, there is a planned community-wide Blue and Orange day to represent Hawk Nation," Lane said. "We also have banners for students and staff to sign and write personal messages to Dr. Stoppel and Officer Clark throughout the week."
Yeager asked that those participating use the hashtag #OneOlatheFamily on social media, so it would be easy for those affected to see "all the love and support."
Both Yeager and Lane ended by applauding the strength of the community around the school.
"While this week may continue to prove challenging for many, I know that our Hawk family is strong and resilient," Lane said.