The principal of the Florida school where 17 people were gunned down delivered an emotional message Saturday night, promising to hug every student “as many times” necessary to help them get through last week’s tragedy.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Principal Ty Thompson posted a video on YouTube saying his “heart is breaking for the victims’ families” in the wake of Wednesday’s deadly shooting.
"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 as you need me to for all 3,300 of you and your families. We will get through this together," Thompson said with tears in his eyes.
Thompson thanked the students and staff members for their “heroic efforts.” He said the protocols that were implemented at the high school helped save lives as suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire.
“Right now my No. 1 job is to be here for my staff, my students and our community in this time of need,” the principal said.
"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 lost on Wednesday and we're going to spread that over the next days, weeks, months and even years," he added.
"Our community is strong, our students are strong and we will persevere in these trying times. As you can see, on the media, my staff and my students are living our motto — be positive, be passionate and be proud to be an Eagle.”
The deadly shooting at the Parkland high school left 17 people dead and another 15 wounded. Stoneman Douglas students also announced on Sunday a march called “The March For Our Lives” has been planned for March 24. The nationwide demonstration is a call for more gun control to end mass shootings and violence.
A GoFundMe page that was set up Thursday for the family of the victims in the school shooting surpassed $1.3 million in donations as of Sunday.