The pastor of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, where Pacherille and his family have been active members for more than 10 years, said he does not think racism played a role in the decisions made by Pacherille.
He described the boy as a good, kind, generous person who volunteered regularly at the church and had expressed interest in becoming a priest during his confirmation last December. The pastor, the Rev. John P. Rosson, said Pacherille had been a victim of bullying and harassment. “I think something just snapped,’’ Rosson said Tuesday afternoon after getting back from visiting Pacherille at the hospital. “I don’t think he has any dark stellar secrets.’’
Rosson said he has been to visit the boy every day in the hospital.
“There is deep remorse,’’ Rosson said. “He did something wrong and he knows that.’’
Rosson said Pacherille’s spirits get better with each day, but the boy is still very sensitive. It is important to talk about how fortunate he is and he has been talking about that, Rosson said.
In response to the claims of bullying and racial tension in the school district McPhail said she has never heard of any racial complaints before Friday.
According to McPhail, there have been no prior indications of racial problems at the school.
She said there had not been any reports of any arguments or fighting before the shooting.
Principal Cring said the district takes bullying and racial discrimination very seriously and no incidents were ever reported to school administration or counselors regarding the two young men.
``It’s hard to do something about a potential issue if it has never been reported,’’ he said, adding that both boys had ``totally clean’’ disciplinary records.
``The only blemish was for budging in the lunch line,’’ he said.
``We follow all of the state guidelines and treat these issues very seriously. Any bullying or racial issue we are presented with is investigated and dealt with according to our school code of conduct and with education to help improve the behavior.’’
Cring said the district’s immediate concern this week is for the students’ emotional well-being.
``Down the road we will reflect on our practice and make changes if necessary,’’ he said. ``The responsibility for educating young people on these critical topics must be shared by the school and the home.” continued Cring.