One Year Since the Marshall County School Shooting

4 Minute Read
Source: CNN

The Louisville Courier Journal ran an article yesterday entitled: “Faith is power behind ‘Marshall Strong’ one year after school shooting.” The tragic, deadly school shooting happened a year ago this coming Wednesday.

Even though Marshall County is the county north of where Kim and I live, it is the county in which Kim works. She is the Art teacher at North Marshall Middle School … the school that the high school students were bused to after the tragedy.

I’ll never forget getting a text that morning at 8:05 AM that said, “Shooting reported at Marshall County High School. Please pray!”

I began to pray but wanted to get more information. I stepped down the hall to talk to the staff person that had sent the text to me. She knew nothing other than that there was a reported shooting and the school was on lock down.

I quickly texted Kim at her middle school and found out that she was on lock down, too. However, I came to find out that she didn’t know why. Not yet. She hadn’t heard that a high school band student had gone into the high school commons era and opened fire. As I recall, there were 19 injured, 14 shot, and two students were killed.

But they weren’t just any students. The two students who lost their lives that day were Bailey Holt and Preston Cope. Kim knew them well because they had been her students when they took art in her middle school class two years earlier. She recalled them as being precious kids who were a delight to have in her classroom.

Pictured in the bottom center are victims, Preston Cope and Bailey Holt. The shooter, Gabe Parker, is seen holding his tuba and being taken in custody by police. The word around Marshall County is that Gabe continues to show no remorse for what he did.

I knew that Kim had a job to do as the students in her room would get restless quickly and want answers to why they continued to be on lock down. So, we stopped texting for awhile.

When she finally got home, much later than usual, she was exhausted and numb. She told me that the high school students were bused to her school that morning to get them away from the crime scene. They were kept in the North Marshall Middle School gym until their parents came to pick them up. But, as the students arrived that morning and walked down Kim’s hallway to the gym, the expressions on their faces broke her heart. They had seen and experienced so much more than anyone should ever have to see and experience. And they would never, ever be the same.

downloadBut the Marshall County community is strong. It is a community that relies very much upon their faith in God, especially in times like this. The article in the Louisville Courier Journal picked up on this fact. Their faith did not keep this tragedy from happening but it has helped them get through it.

So, this Wednesday as they remember that tragic event that happened last year, may we pray for them to experience God’s peace. May we pray for God’s protection over them, that such a tragedy would not happen again. And may we pray that Jesus would draw students to Himself as they are reminded of the temporariness of life.


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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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