A Day Spent with Michele Gay
Michele Gay joined us in Westerville, Ohio for a day that we will not forget
For those of you who are not already familiar with Michele Gay, she is the co-founder of a nonprofit organization called Safe and Sound Schools, formed following the Sandy Hook tragedy on December 14, 2012, where Michele lost her daughter, Josephine Grace. Michele has taken her experiences on the road and has dedicated her time to help prevent tragedy and share what she has learned to help others better prepare and respond in the event of an emergency. With that being said, we couldn’t resist bringing Michele to Columbus, OH to work together in spreading a powerful message about school safety.
Status Solutions, our parent company, chose to become a sponsor of Safe and Sound Schools because of the similarity in our missions and Michele’s visit solidified just how aligned our organizations are. To put it plainly, we just want our schools to be safer, simple as that. Once we got settled in, we started off with a webinar broadcasted to customers, partners and employees that registered to join. We had a few technical difficulties but the delivery of Michele’s story overcame what no Power Point presentation could have conveyed. Later that night we hosted an event for the local community where she shared her story in an intimate setting.
During both occasions, Michele recapped the events that took place that day and how the security measures at their school detrimentally failed them. She went over how the assailant was able to enter the school, despite the locked front door by breaking through the glass. How the employees had no way to alert their staff and students other than the PA system or yelling as loud as they could down the hall. She talked about the sacrifices the brave men, women and children in Sandy Hook Elementary made that day, after all, those on-site in an emergency are forced to become the first-responders. The courageous custodian who ran down the halls yelling to warn staff and students while attempting to lock all of the classroom doors from the outside because they could not be quickly locked from the inside. The children and staff that hid to save their lives. The young children who ran past the assailant and out the front door of the building to safety. How her children had done safety drills throughout the school year, and how her school was quite frankly ahead of the curve when it came to safety protocol. She talked about how Sandy Hook Elementary was prepared.
“Not here.” Those two words run through our minds every time we see tragedy like this one occur. It is something we think about not only to convince ourselves it’s true but also for comfort. We don’t want to believe that something like this can happen in our community. It may be hard to understand why Michele constantly relives this day each time she tells her story and for her the answer is easy, Josephine Grace. She inspired us with her message to “never give up” and the obligation she feels to educate communities. Likewise, Status Solutions owes it to the community to never give up until we can deem all schools safe and sound.