It’s been nearly two months since the deadly shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School. Five students died, including the 15-year-old gunman.
Since then, 68 families have turned to the state of Washington for financial help to deal with the tragedy. They've received $23,000 from Washington’s Crime Victim Compensation Fund.
The Crime Victim Compensation Fund was established in 1971 as part of a growing victim’s rights movement. During its several decades in existence, it’s been used to help victims' families pay for things like funeral costs and medical expenses. People affected by major crimes can use the funds to pay for counseling.
In the case of the killings at Marysville Pilchuck High School, all students at the school are eligible for the funds even if they didn’t actually witness what happened.
Marge Martin, executive director of the nonprofit group Victim Support Services, says that makes sense given the magnitude of the tragedy.
“I mean, it has affected every single one of them and will affect every single one of them, and will affect choices they make and how they look at things for the rest of their lives,” Martin said.
In the weeks following the shootings, Martin’s group worked to encourage Marysville Pilchuck families to apply for money from the state compensation fund. But, she says, at the time, many were just too traumatized to even think about it.
Now she’s pushing them to go ahead and apply even if they don’t think they'll use the services right away.
“You know, as things play out through their high school years, they may decide that two or three years down the road, they need it,” Martin said.
Students or families who want to apply for funds can pick up packets in the Marysville Pilchuck High School counselor’s office.
Vigil Planned For Tonight
On another note, a vigil to remember the victims during this holiday season is planned for tonight, Dec. 22, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Comeford Park in Marysville. Victim Support Services is organizing the event.
“We want people to be able to come together and remember those victims. And that’s our sole intent is to give them an opportunity to do that in a safe place — 'safe place' meaning an emotionally-safe place," Martin said.