YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A former Valley native now living in South Florida says the community around the scene of last week’s horrific school massacre is still reeling from the tragedy.
John Congemi graduated from Ursuline High School in the 50s. He now lives just around the corner from Stoneman-Douglas High School in Coral Springs. He worked there as assistant principal from 2003 to 2009.
Congemi said it is still hard to comprehend last week’s violence so close to home and at the school where he spent time as an educator.
“It is just devastating no matter where it happens, but so close to home it is hard to take it all in and realize what happened,” Congemi said.
Congemi says he was involved in the hiring of security guard and coach Aaron Feis, one of those killed last week in the shooting. He expects there will be plenty of discussion about increasing security in the school district as well as on mental health issues among students.
“When you see your classmates get shot, and you see your classmates die, it’s pretty riveting for anyone of any age. But to be that young and to see that carnage, it’s something that is going to be very, very difficult for them to get over,” Congemi said.
A number of students from the high school traveled to the state capital in Tallahassee to demand changes from state lawmakers, and President Donald Trump held a “listening session” with students and parents involved in the tragedy.
Trump told the group they are going have “very strong background checks,” and increase the focus on mental health.
CBS News reported that Mr. Trump was accompanied by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Vice President Mike Pence, who said governors from all 50 states will come to the White House next week to discuss solutions to mass gun violence.
Trump has announced his support for some limited gun measures. The president tweeted his support for stronger background checks on Tuesday night, and earlier that day, he announced he has directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft regulations banning devices — like bump stocks — that turn legal semi-automatic weapons into illegal automatic weapons.