David Rupkalvis

The latest rant regarding the tragedy at Santa Fe High School came about early last week when multiple people posted on Facebook regarding the money donated through many causes to the victims of the school shooting. 

The general thought said by dozens of people was kind of like this — don’t donate any money to Santa Fe ISD or the Santa Fe Strong account because the school has announced it is keeping all of the money and giving none of it to the victims. The initial account got so many comments, so many nasty comments, eventually commenting was disabled and the post removed. 

But others quickly popped up, and the griping continued. 

Late Tuesday of last week, Santa Fe ISD revealed its plan about how it was going to distribute the funds. Here’s the bottom line — every penny donated to the Santa Fe Strong account, either through the school or any other venue, is going to the families of the shooting victims. 

That seemed to calm down some people on Facebook, but there will still be some complaining, saying it took too long and wanting proof from the school district. 

Here are my thoughts. First, everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax for a second. What happened at Santa Fe High School on May 18 is something no one in this region has ever had to deal with before and never could have imagined. When a tragedy of that scope strikes, it takes some time to figure out how to handle things. The employees of Santa Fe ISD are not trained in raising mass amounts of money nor are they experts in distributing that money. 

At no time was the school ever planning to profit off the tragedy. I have read every press release they have put out over the last few weeks and I have watched every press conference when administrators spoke. Every single time, the No. 1 message was concern and compassion for the victims of the shooting. Anyone who thinks differently is flat out wrong. 

No. 2, since the school district has no clue how to hand out money to crime victims, they rightly went searching for help from a group that does. That help came in two forms. The school partnered with the National Compassion Fund and GoFundMe to distribute the money because those organizations know how to get it to the right people in an efficient manner. The National Compassion Fund has been helping crime victims get funding since the Columbine shooting in 1999 and has worked in multiple school shootings and events such as the Sept. 11, 2001, disaster. GoFundMe has helped people raise more than $5 billion and has distributed that money accurately. These groups are good, and they will get the money to the families and victims who need it. 

I applaud the school district for making that move. When you aren’t great at doing something, the best thing you can do is find someone else who is. 

A local board made up of local people will meet publicly to decide how to share the money. Who will get how much and when is still up in the air, but every penny that made it to the Santa Fe Strong account will go to the victims of the crime. 

Santa Fe as a community deserves a lot of credit. After the tragedy three weeks ago, the community came together, lifted each other up, protected the families and victims and raised a ton of money. Tragedy made Santa Fe stronger than ever, and the community members made the term Santa Fe strong 100 percent true. 

While the funerals are over and those injured are recovering, Santa Fe still needs to be unified. The families of those killed will need support for years to come. Students who were injured physically and emotionally will need help as they move forward in life. 

Santa Fe needs to continue to be unified in helping those impacted the most, and turning on each other will not do that. 

Santa Fe ISD is looking out for their students, the residents of Santa Fe are doing the same. So let’s all do it together, unified as one. Let’s be Santa Fe strong.

(1) comment

Sharon Free

Good article, thank you. The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce had a great meeting today. The Natonal Compassion Fund was the speaker. There was a lot of very good information about the legalities and ramifications for both the doners and the recipients. 100% of the funds will be dispersed properly to the victims. The speaker was filmed and this will be put out for the public to view soon via SF Chamber and perhaps I45 Now. TJ Aulds filmed it.

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