Students at Garden Valley Collegiate gathered in the school
gymnasium for a very rare occasion on November 23 -- to hear
Reverend Dale Lang from Taber, Alberta speak about his son, Jason,
who was gunned down in a hallway of his school on April 28, 1999.
Lang told the students said that the shooting would not have
happened, if the people would have believed in and accepted Christ.
He said if he was not a Christian, he would have wanted to kill
somebody after this accident, but because of the Lord, he would
not do it. Lang said that he felt Jason's spirit with him throughout
the service and that all the people should worship together.
Lang said he felt a lot of healing that day.
For the public memorial service, Lang decided that he was
going to go to the site where Jason had been shot and pray. He
said he trusts that during the memorial service at W.R. Myers
High School, God will do something special.
"God has given us a bit of a vision that what he wants
to do is to start here at Myers High School and make a drastic
change in the attitudes of our young people," Lang commented.
He said he believes that if God could change the people at Myers,
then he can do it anywhere.
Lang is fulfilling this vision by speaking at schools around
the country. His message at GVC included details on the shooting,
the shock of losing his son, and the means by which he was able
to forgive the boy who shot his son. He related his message to
society and how we need to respect and care for each other.
Irene Schmidt, a guidance counselor at GVC, spoke of the impact
of Lang's message on students.
"I hope GVC will become a kinder place and will be more
aware of other people," she said.
The idea of asking Lang to speak to the students originated from
the Peer Helpers group in the school in a response to the "White
Ribbon Campaign", a project aimed at ending violence. The
group wanted GVC students to be more aware of violence and to
have more respect for each other. As a result of those discussions,
Lang's name came up.
Speaking about his son's death helps Lang in his time of grieving.
Lang sais he was angry the day he found out what had happened
to his son, but God turned that anger to sorrow. The Lang's now
have no anger towards the boy who shot Jason, towards his family,
or towards God.
Jason's sister, who is seven years old, is coping with the
loss and mentions her memories of him. His brother Matt is fifteen
and plays his drums and guitars to get rid of his anger. Older
sons Mark and Jeff Lang were both living away from home at the
time of the shooting. Jeff is married, but Mark has moved back
home for a while to be with his family. Lang says both sons have
"re-dedicated their lives to Jesus" since Jason's death.