A visit to 8-year-old Martin Richard’s school: ‘Love conquers hate’

Photo of Martin Richard/Facebook/AP

While the city starts to heal after the deadly bombings during the Boston Marathon, the Neighborhood House Charter School, which both Martin Richard and his severely injured sister Jane attended and where their mother, Denise, worked as a librarian, is working with the Dorchester community to return to normalcy.

“This makes us stronger. You know we’re–there’s a lot of heart in this school, lot of family in this school. A lot of determination, resilience,” said Headmaster Kevin Andrews, who knew the Richard family well. “Everyone’s ready to give even more…. They know that they have to be strong for Jane. They have to be strong for other kids. They have to move on.”

Kevin Andrews walked the halls of the elementary school and visited Martin’s and Jane’s classrooms with msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Thursday, showing the cards and gifts students have made for the two young victims of the marathon bombings. Andrews said the town of Dorchester has felt overwhelmed but will do what it takes to get the community and the school on an even keel.

Andrews told O’Donnell that the school would not have a library open if it hadn’t been for the efforts of Denise Richard. “She’s a pretty remarkable woman,” he said.

“You know the library was going to be closed down at the end of last year. We ran out of…funds, and Denise said she would even volunteer for a small salary, whatever it is.” She hosted a successful book fair that raised enough funds to open the library back up full-time.

Andrews remained hopeful that students and parents would heal soon. The deep sense of community at Neighborhood House Charter School will help, he said.

“We’re strong. We’re resilient. We’re tough. We’re ready. Love conquers hate. We’re a family. It’s a very tight family,” Andrews said. “Kids are going to feel real safe here. This is their home. That’s why it’s called Neighborhood House. It’s their house.”

“We want them to feel comforted, safe,” he said. “We’re going to take care of each other. We’re good at that.”

The FBI has been receiving calls about the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects they have identified and released photos of Thursday, describing the suspects as “armed and extremely dangerous.” During a press conference Thursday evening, investigators put out this video of the two men, both wearing baseball caps and dark jackets and carrying backpacks while walking through the crowd on Monday.

FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers, who is leading the investigation, reached out to the public for their assistance. “Today we are enlisting the public’s help,” DesLauriers said. ”The nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us.”

At an interfaith prayer service in Boston Thursday morning, President Obama took a moment to honor the victims, including the Richard family.

“Our prayers are with the Richard family of Dorchester, to Denise and their young daughter Jane, as they fight to recover. And our hearts are broken for 8-year-old Martin, with his big smile and bright eyes. His last hours were as perfect as an 8-year-old boy could hope for, with his family, eating ice cream at a sporting event. And we’re left with two enduring images of this little boy, forever smiling for his beloved Bruins and forever expressing a wish he made on a blue poster board: No more hurting people. Peace. No more hurting people. Peace.”

Headmaster Andrews told O’Donnell that Martin took the message he wrote on the poster board to heart.

“It’s ironic that, you know, that sign was picked up by the media during this time.”

Andrews added, “[President Obama] needs more consultants like Martin. You know, sometimes kids just get it right.”