Luncheon held to praise Salisbury High teachers for how shooting was handled

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 20, 2014

A week and a half after Shaleek Williams was shot outside Salisbury High School’s gym, parents and students banded together to thank the school’s teachers and staff for handling the incident with calmness, professionalism and compassion.

Community members invited school employees to a special luncheon to show their gratitude.

“We are so thankful for the wonderful love and true compassion you showed our children on that day and every day,” the invitation said.

Nanette Dillon, whose daughter is a sophomore at Salisbury, helped organize the event.

“Salisbury High School is a great school and a terrible thing happened” on campus, she said, adding that the shooting wasn’t a reflection on the school.

The luncheon was a group effort, Dillon said.

“The community’s coming together,” she said.

Parents prepared a smorgasbord of soups, breads, drinks and desserts. Students helped decorate the teacher workroom with balloons, signs and streamers. Even the former principal, Dr. Windsor Eagle, came out to serve beverages and wash dishes.

Teachers were overwhelmed with the community’s generosity.

“When I walked in and saw all the soups, desserts, drinks and decorations I couldn’t help but smile,” Amy Conarroe, a science teacher, said in an email.

“I heard several of the teachers say we should keep it decorated all year,” she added.

Sean Hunter, the school’s visual arts teacher was also impressed.

“I thought it was absolutely fantastic,” he said. “They went above and beyond today. It was awesome.”

Hunter added that the teachers enjoy knowing that the parents support them.

Conarroe said the lunch was “comforting” and that she enjoyed having the time to catch up with other teachers.

“The lunch made me feel like I was part of an amazing community and really appreciated!” she said.

“We really just hate that this happened on our campus,” Dillon said.

She’s happy the teachers were there for the students, though.

Hunter said that immediately following the shooting teachers “kept things really calm.”

“At first, teachers were a little shaken. It’s unnerving to have your students so close to such a violent act,” Conarroe said.

Both of the teachers agreed that the increased police presence has been reassuring for students and teachers alike.

“I would definitely like to thank the police department,” Hunter said.

He also praised the school’s openness with the students from the very beginning.

“It allowed them to deal with it on their own terms” and kept them from assuming much worse, he said.