How Compassion Prevented a School Shooting

On Feb. 7, 2018, I received an email from a Compassion It community member that moved me to tears. This note had even more meaning a week later when a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The email came from a father of a courageous daughter. They both gave me permission to share his note anonymously to showcase the power of compassion.

Hi Sara,

I wanted you to know that my daughter and I have been Compassion It bracelet wearers for a long time.  She recently reported a potential school shooting, and the youth she reported had multiple firearms in his possession. 

She attributes being compassionate as the way in which was able to befriend a vulnerable youth. 

The day after she reported the incident, her Compassion It bracelet wore out. The whole incident was overwhelming, and at times she felt worn out, too; on one hand she is characterized as a hero, on the other a young person went to a detention center away from his family. At the age of 14, she has seen the benefit of self-compassion and compassion for other and you had a hand in that. Well done!

We will be ordering more bracelets!

All the best to you and your family, with compassion,



I recently had a phone call with this incredible young woman and her father, and she shared her frustration with me. She has been trained in how to act when there’s an active shooter in school, yet no one had led trainings in how to reach out to those who are cast aside. “Why wouldn’t we be trained in something that could prevent violence?” she wondered.

This troubled classmate, according to her, was an “easy target” for bullying…a scrawny young man who said whatever he wanted and often offended his classmates. Despite that, she reached out and became friends with him. She knew he needed compassion.

We must not underestimate the power of compassion. It has saved lives, and it needs to be a focus in our schools and homes. By offering our time and attention to those who are most vulnerable, we may be preventing acts of violence.

What can you do to bring compassion into today’s conversations about gun violence prevention? 

1 – Lead by example and make compassion a priority in your life.

2 – Share this post with your network and invite others to contemplate and discuss the power of compassion. Ask them to consider what might happen if we start reaching out to those who are most vulnerable.


  1. Bri on February 28, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    This made me cry the second time I read it too! Keep up the good work.

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