By Shannon Frost Greenstein
Whenever there’s a tragedy or a national disaster and I feel myself on the verge of tears, panic, or despair, I remember something Mr. Rogers said.
Fred Rogers recalled, when he would see footage of bad events or hear distressing details, his mother would tell him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
As we are reeling from the details coming in about the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, this is the prime time to take Mrs. Rogers advice. So, in looking for the helpers around this devastating event, we notice, first and foremost, the story of Aaron Feis.
Mr. Feis was the assistant football coach at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, as well as a security guard. His job was to teach students, to keep them safe, to protect them on the field and in the classroom.
Stories have circulated that this hero shielded students while bullets were flying around the school, standing in front of them so they would be sheltered.
Unfortunately, Aaron Feis was shot while protecting his charges, and was the first victim to be identified last Wednesday after the shooting.
It should not be the case that a simple day at school produces a martyr. We should not need heroes like this, people who selflessly give their lives in the most extreme test of their commitment to their students and their students’ safety. We should not have to mention “school” and “mass shooting” in the same breath, and certainly should not have to lay to rest members of the school community after such an event occurs.
Until something changes, though, this HAS happened, and IS happening. But it’s the helpers, the men like Aaron Feis who make the split second decisions to protect a child, who are helping us to cope with this scary reality until a new normal evolves. Rest in Peace, Mr. Feis…thank you endlessly for your service to the school, for your ultimate sacrifice, and for trying to help your students in need.