An e-mail was sent to me regarding a principal found dead at the Memphis Junior SDA Academy (in Tennessee) in a pool of blood. The accused is alleged to be a 17- or 16-year-old male who, according to police, killed the principal because he “didn’t like her and because she made him angry.”
I am deeply saddened and share this story because for one, the school system is Seventh-day Adventist, to which my Christian faith is based so ultimately I feel tied to the system because of my affiliation and second, a murder has never occurred in the SDA school system since its beginnings in the 1800s.
I had gotten off the phone with a colleague, currently a superintendent of schools in New York, and his reaction was one of remorse and concern. He added that security would have to be taken into consideration, in essence, stricter screening of students who apply to the school system. But he concluded, we must extend care and support of the family of the slain, school faculty, and especially students, including the accused killer and his family.
I can’t understand why this happened, though, to a woman whose love for children was all she knew and instead of receiving that love had her life taken from her because “she wasn’t liked or made the student angry.” I just can’t fathom it.
Right now, I will keep thought and prayer for the family of Principal York and the Memphis Junior SDA Academy. At a time like this, it isn’t God we should be angry at for allowing this to happen. I believe God didn’t cause it or would want this to happen, instead I believe it was a result of sin. In Exodus 20:13 it reads, “Thou shalt not kill.” Yet, I’d like to think that the sin was not the killing, but the thought in this young man’s mind that turned into planning, that turned into action that killed Principal York.
It is my prayer that we show and continue showing love to everyone. Despite the heartless event, deep down, I think I would find it in my heart to forgive this young man. It might not bring Principal York back, but the anger in this young man might heal and maybe, just maybe he’ll realize his actions, seek forgiveness, and do no more harm. Ultimately though, I leave the judgment to God.
CNN covered the story in length, which you can read here.