February 16, 2023
It is with a heavy heart that I must report that an act of gun violence has violated the peace of Michigan State University’s campus. February 13 th , at approximately 8:30 pm shots were fired in Berkey Hall, and then the Union Building a short time later. We have lost 3 innocent souls (Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser, and Arielle Anderson), and 5 other persons were injured in
this act of heinous violence. The alleged perpetrator, who appears to have been suffering a mental health crisis, took his own life. As of this event, there have been 67 mass shootings in the U.S. since January 1, 2023.
Now is not the time to rant about gun control. This is a time for us to attend to our family, friends, colleagues, peers and students in the MSU community. As a community and State, we are facing challenging times ahead. Let’s meet them with compassion, healing, courage, and conviction. Our hearts go out to the MSU, and surrounding communities. Untold numbers of individual have varying degrees of physical and/or emotional proximity to this tragedy. As school psychologists, counselors, and therapists, we were built for times such as these.
During this incredibly difficult time, be encouraged that we possess an incredible strength, courage, and determination to heal and help other’s do the same. The response of school psychologists, across the state, with offers of support and consultation continues to grow. Let’s look to build on the resilience that our children and other individuals possess. We have seen, and
will see that even in the face of grief, loss, fear, and trauma, that people can demonstrate hope and positivity.
Our colleagues on the board are working diligently to streamline supports and coordinate sponse efforts. Susan Koceski (our Oakland County Regional Representative), who was so instrumental in coordinating supports for school psychologists in Oxford and Oakland County,indicates that there has been an “all call” type message put out through social workers to rally mental health supports following this tragedy. Many of the social workers will counsel, and some will be able to provide crisis response.
The responses from Community Mental Health and law enforcement have been timely and incredible. The whole MSU and Lansing community is rallying together, providing supports for everyone that has been, and will continue to be, impacted. We are showing our best selves in this crisis, and that is exactly what is needed. Let’s all continue to show up for our family, friends, and peers in the MSU community.
During conversations surrounding the tragic Oxford incident. Past MASP President Dr. Lauren Mangus noted that many colleagues around the country who’d had “unfortunate experiences of tragedies such as this, two themes were repeatedly echoed: 1) care for the caregiver and 2) reaffirming safety and security (for ourselves, loved ones, students, colleagues, and our
communities). In the coming days, weeks, and months, in addition to all of our other roles and responsibilities, it will be vital to prioritize our own self-care.”
For additional information, which NASP has approved for dissemination with appropriate references, see the following:
As we forge ahead during this time, I encourage you all to check in with family, friends, peers, and students; as well as those who may cross you minds, or who may appear disconnected from community. But, most importantly take stock of you own mental health and engage in whatever form of healing you may need. We can take care of others, if we have not taken care of ourselves. We cannot pour healing into the vessels of others, if our own vessels are broken andIf you are in need of resources, have any questions, concerns, or would even like to provide supports, please reach out to your Regional Representative. Also, we have School Violence Resources on our website and continue to update social media with resources. Take great care of yourselves and remember that we are all in this together. MASP is here.
empty. “Remember that ‘love says no’ and boundaries are part of self-care” according to my good friend Dr. Lauren Mangus.
Peace, protection, healing, and courage.
Vincent O. Hodge, PhD, EdS, NCSP
MASP President 2022-2023