More than 400 people turned out for a prayer observance Sunday evening at Normal Community High School in the wake of the hostage taking incident in a Friday morning health class.
"Psalm 23, verse 4: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me."
Shubhang Desai says he was in the classroom held at gunpoint by a boy who forced the teacher and students to listen to his problems. He says it was important for him to support his fellow classmates in that room, though he's a little nervous about resuming school.
"It's going to be a little bit scary, but I'm glad we won't have to go back into the same classroom. A lot of people are going to act really different. They're going to notice the smaller things more, and be thankful for the things that they have. And I'm glad for that."
Unit Five has switched the health class to a different room. The teacher disarmed the gunman. There were no physical injuries. Shubhang's mother Pinky Desai says her extended family has been calling from India to comfort them.
"On Friday he was in a bad shape, but yesterday he had his friend came over for a sleepover. And I think he's getting better. He'll be fine soon."
After scripture readings, the crowd broke up into small groups around the perimeter of the school to pray. The person whose Facebook post started the gathering says she is thankful for the result. Julie Heinold says 400 people was more than she counted on.
"Yeah, I was kind of expecting maybe 20. I thought it might be my family and a couple of others, so we're really excited about that. But it's really not about numbers, it's about people needing to heal and about people needing the peace and comfort that we know only comes through God."
Some students of NCHS say they appreciate the support from the prayer group. Counselors will be available. Those students who were not able to retrieve their belongings following the evacuation of the school and the all clear, may do so this morning before school.
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