There was a time when we were all Saugus. And recently, after the November 14 shooting on the Saugus High School campus, we all stood under that umbrella once again.
Golden Valley High School held a charity basketball game to benefit the Saugus community on the day before the students returned to school Dec. 2. Also, Golden Valley’s website recognized Garth Sanders of Minuteman Press, a GVHS parent, for his support for the #SaugusStrong efforts. He donated banners to Golden Valley so students could express their support. Banners were sent across town to Saugus to be displayed for encouragement when the campus reopened.
Canyon High School graduates are also showing their support. Amanda and Megan Gardner joined their mother, Karen, in putting their talents to work. Assisted by their aunt, Julie Chebbi from Westchester, and Sulphur Springs teacher Jenna Baker, the group created hundreds of handmade Saugus Strong key chains and bracelets.
When Karen Gardner posted on Facebook that people could purchase them to support Saugus High families and the school’s wellness center, Canyon High School staff members bought dozens of them. Karen distributed them to the staff at Saugus High School for free.
You can purchase them for $10 each; visit the Saugus Strong Facebook page and put “key” in the search bar to pull up the post.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has submitted a grant request to the City of Santa Clarita in the amount of $5,000 in hopes they will receive a Community Services and Arts Grant to bring several educational programs to schools in this valley, says Kim A. Bunnell, president of NAMI San Fernando Valley. The nonprofit organization has such programs as Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention.
NAMI California posted the following message on the nonprofit’s website: “We are deeply saddened to hear about news of a school shooting in Santa Clarita. Whenever we hear about another tragedy involving gun violence, we grieve along with our fellow citizens and community members impacted by it.”
One of the group’s strongest concerns is the stigma that keeps people from getting the psychological help they need. They have an article on their website entitled “The Truth about Gun Violence” which explains that according to studies at such universities as Johns Hopkins and UCLA, mental illness contributes to only about 4 percent of all violence.
It says, “Every time we experience a tragedy involving guns, people with mental illness are drawn into the conversation. The truth is that the vast majority of violence is not perpetrated by people with mental illness. Statements to the contrary only serve to perpetuate stigma and distract from the real issues.
“Most people with mental health conditions will never become violent, and mental illness does not cause most gun violence. … We need to have an honest and productive national conversation about all the factors that play into this type of violence and what we can do to prevent these tragedies. Only then can we find meaningful solutions to protecting our children and communities.”
The good news is that local individuals are mobilized in every related facet of the problem, from law enforcement to therapies for those dealing with grief. Many would say the support has looked a lot like #SantaClaritaStrong.