Students and teachers find comfort in faith after 1 October


LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - The 1 October shooting happened on a Sunday night. Schools opened the following day with some students and teachers missing because they were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. But one school in particular was impacted more than any other.

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Faith Lutheran High School had 2 students who were hit and several others who ran for their lives. That school also had teachers, family members and alumni who were at the concert.

"There is so much love on this campus and I feel like because of all that it's allowed me to heal and be comfortable talking to you today."

Shae Turner was a junior last year when she and her best friend were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a subject she's now writing about in her college essay applications.

"Even when I'm having bad days, hard days, confused and angry I remind myself God is with me. I'm not alone even if I feel alone."

Health teacher and volleyball coach Kristin Thornton was there too when the shooting happened. She says her school, which is focused on faith and prayer, has been vital to helping her heal.

"They had students write a prayer for me and put it in a jar to keep on my desk. So days that were hard, I could open the jar and take a prayer out. Things like that you don't get other places."

Dr. Steven Buuck is the CEO of Faith Lutheran Middle and High School.

"God is still on his throne and we made that clear to these kids."

He says things are a bit different on campus this year. 

"The only way they can get in now is over there on Hualapai and there is an armed guard getting ID on anyone. We took the exterior and tightened it."

Buuck had been considering increasing security on campus before 1 October happened. After the shooting, it just made sense to add 3 armed security guards -- and a 4-legged girl named Esther.

"Esther is our comfort dog. She's been here every day. She has her own pen here."

By counselor Dan Buikema's count, 14 Faith Lutheran students, staff or family members were there. But everyone was affected.

"At one point the Washington Post was interviewing me, I cried. I had no idea I was going to. It's one of those things that affects you. It's a horrible thing no matter what."

But they're getting through it together. Especially focused on their students suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Buuck says, "It's still hard. Some of those kids were rocked. It's getting better. It's better. But like I said we were hammering caliche and they can't handle that."

Noises used to upset Turner too. For Thornton, it was shelter-in-place drills that brought that night back. But they both say they're doing really well.

"I feel like this happened. My life is different. I'm going to move on and live to the fullest even though it's changed."

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