Former Rep. Katie Hill graduated from Saugus High School. Her family and campaign have deep ties to the campus.
So news of the shooting on the Santa Clarita, California, school left her concerned for the “long term, emotional well-being” of the students and community. Hill spoke to USA TODAY as details of the school shooting were emerging, leaving her terrified, she said, about knowing somebody who was impacted.
“The best thing that we can do is collectively come together and work to try to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else and that everyone in the aftermath is as supportive as possible,” said Hill, who graduated from the high school in 2004.
Hill said she’s had interns and campaign volunteers who are former and current Saugus students.
The shooting took place shortly before 8 a.m. at the 2,500 student school about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The suspect, a student at the school, was taken into custody and was being treated at a hospital, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
According to Hill, the preparations schools had made because of the “epidemic” of gun violence helped keep casualties down.
“These students were pretty well prepared for the worst. And, you know, I think that the number of casualties was kept down, in large part probably because of what they had learned,” she said.
When asked how she would advocate for the students after resigning her congressional seat at the end of October, she said she would “continue to be an advocate” outside of Congress and would be returning to Washington next week to be in a position to advocate for the students from outside Congress.
This is a “time where you feel the loss of not being in that kind of a position anymore, but I also think that in some ways, this gives me more flexibility and allows me to be here in the community to provide whatever support I can to the students and their families.”
She added that there was some more she might be able to accomplish outside Congress, too.
“We’ve already passed all these pieces of legislation in the House, and they’re just not moving through the Senate. And so, you know, you often feel very helpless, and I think I can, I can potentially come with an even stronger degree of advocacy and activism around the political changes that will need to take effect from outside,” she said.
Contributing: John Bacon