Taft Union High School looks to move forward

Nearly one year after a school shooting rocked the community, religious leaders pray for the future of Taft.
TAFT, CA -- A prayer vigil was held at Taft Union High School Monday, four days before the one-year anniversary of the school shooting that left one student wounded and others injured.

The school district says it will not do anything Friday to commemorate last year's shooting. Administrators say the school does not want to look back on that terrifying day but instead look forward a safe new year.

"Bless these students, bless the staff, bless the parents, bless the people of Taft."

As students and staff return from winter break, religious leaders gather at Taft Union High School to bless the spring semester.

"Praying for the safety and security and really the promise and the hope of this community."

Monday's vigil is four days before the one-year anniversary of when a student opened fire in the school, wounding one student and rocking the community of Taft.

"We're moving beyond that because it wasn't representative of our school or our district or our community at all."

Superintendent Blanca Cavazos says instead of focusing on last year's shooting, the purpose of the vigil was to uplift students and staff.

"It was more of just praying for our community. We didn't really want to bring it up so it was just praying for everybody. I feel like we need that," student Abbie Leclair said.

"It makes coming to a new school easier knowing that, even in the light of tragedy and things like that, the community still bands together and stands behind the students and prays for their protection and for their safety," new student Sarana McDaniels said.

Last January, prosecutors say Bryan Oliver entered a classroom and shot Bowe Cleveland in the chest. Oliver has said it's because Cleveland had "bullied" him.

In light of last year's incident, the school is kicking off a month-long "Random Acts of Kindness" campaign.

Oliver's trial is scheduled for January 21. He is being tried as an adult on two counts of attempted murder and three counts of assualt with a firearm.
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