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Special project upcoming at ydr.com: ‘Finding their way out’

Later this afternoon, our website will feature a special project called “Finding their way out,” about the lives of some in the Red Lion community in the nine years since a junior high student shot and killed his principal and then killed himself. The story, which shows that some people have shed the trauma of that day while others remain affected, will be published in print on Sunday. An excerpt is below.

The project is the result of months of work by reporter Bill Landauer and visual journalist Jason Plotkin. I worked with them throughout.

Several people Bill and Jason interviewed believed that talking about what happened in April 2003, and how the trauma affected people since then, will help make things better, or at least let people who are still suffering know that they are not alone.

But because many in Red Lion do not want to talk about what happened — some believe talking about it makes things worse — we know this is a sensitive subject. We approached it that way from start to finish, and we believe the final product reflects the efforts of Bill, Jason and all of us to tell a true story with civility and respect.

From the story:

“After the tragedy, Red Lion Area School District moved on, creating memorials such as a display in the cafeteria of 1,000 handprints from students who had been in the junior high that day and the yearly 5K named in honor of (Principal Eugene) Segro.
‘Every year there are kids who graduate from Red Lion that go to college, they get jobs, they go on with their lives,’ (Wellspan’s Dr. Allen) Miller said. ‘And then there are other people … whose lives were affected to the degree that they weren’t able to go on with their lives in what one would say was a normal trajectory that they were on the day before that incident occurred. That it was an interruption to their life.’
“And there are those who, regardless of their best efforts and most fervent desires, remain trapped by April 24, 2003.
“Though they ran from the cafeteria, they have never been able to make it out the door.”

Check ydr.com later this afternoon to see the project.