Parkland School Students Prepare For Return To Stoneman Douglas High School After Massacre

An assembly Sunday (Feb. 25) helped eased students back into the space 17 people lost their lives. 

On Sunday (Feb. 25), Stoneman Douglas High School held an orientation just a few days before students make their return to campus since the tragic Feb. 14 shooting.

ABC News reports the orientation included plans for continuing classes, which will return on a modified schedule Wednesday (Feb. 28). Classes in full will begin March 5. But naturally, parents and students are both hesitant. They’ll sit in classrooms on the grounds where just two weeks ago gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people, including members of the faculty.

The memory is one ingrained in the repertoire of an entire nation, a reminder that danger always skulks. Parents worry that the school is still missing the protection that they needed to be assured of in the first place. One father told the outlet, “I’m sending [my son] back on Wednesday with no progression on gun control, no progression on school safety.”

Still, others are hopeful. Some returned to the school wearing shirts that read “MSD Strong”  or walked in hand in hand with other survivors. Building 12, where the shooting took place, will not be reopened. There are also reports that the building might be demolished and replaced with a memorial for the victims.

Members of similar communities like the survivors of the Columbine High School shooting have reached out with tips on how the school administration should approach the upcoming weeks. “The first few good days you have can also be the hardest,” Paula Reed, an English teacher who survived the 1999 attack said. "You think you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's actually an oncoming train."

Frank DeAngelis, principal of Columbine High School, says the slightest thing can trigger victims like the sound of the fire alarm or what was cooked in the cafeteria the day of the shooting. Speaking with USA Today, DeAngelis explains those changes as well as counseling for teachers should be implemented.

"If they don't take care of themselves, it will be impossible for them to care for anyone else," DeAngelis said. "They’re going to want to put on a tough face for the students, but they are also hurting. You have to remember that you're not in this alone."

READ: Parkland Shooting Survivors Confront Marco Rubio & NRA Spokeswoman In Emotional Town Hall

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Ohio Teen Filmed Himself Having Sex With 14-Year-Old Must Register As A Sex Offender

An Ohio teen must register as a sex offender for the next 25 years for secretly filming himself having sex with a 14-year-old and then showing the sex tape to friends.

The New York Post reports Jeremiah Horton showed four of his friends at North College Hill High School the tape. Those friends then showed others, resulting in Jeremiah's expulsion.

In addition to registering as a Tier 2 second offender, a judge ordered him to spend six months at River City Correctional Center, a rehab facility for nonviolent felony offenders. Horton faced up to three years in a correctional facility.

“I don’t think that’s appropriate, but you did something you shouldn’t have done, obviously,” Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker told the teen. “And there’s a price to pay.”

Charges were filed in December when the 14-year-old girl's mother found the tape and took it to local authorities. Jeremiah was one of four teens prosecuted for his part. While in court, Horton pled guilty and apologized to the victim and her family.

“I’m not proud of what I did,” Horton said.

 

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Michigan Man Awarded $1.5 Million After Serving 46 Years On A Wrongful Conviction

When Richard Philips was 27-years-old, he was found guilty of dragging a man named Gregory Harris out of his car and shooting him to death. Harris' brother-in-law corroborated the story and told investigators he met with Philips in a local bar to discuss the murder.

Yet despite the statement from the victim's relative, Philips maintained his innocence. It wasn't enough, however, and Philips went onto spend 46 years in prison.

Then in 2010, Richard Polombo came forward and admitted to the killing. It would be another four years before the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan's law school heard Polombo's confession, and another three in legal proceedings before Philips was granted a new trial in 2017.

In March of 2018, Philips was a free man. CNN reports that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has awarded Philips $1.5 million, $50,000 for each year he was imprisoned. The money will not be taxed and Philips won't lose any of it in lawyer fees.

In 1990, Philips began painting to "to stave off loneliness," and began selling his artwork in prison to fellow inmates. The money he made went into purchasing more supplies. Philips' watercolor paintings echoed themes of hope and survival.

Now, at 73 years old, Philips rents a small apartment and hopes to buy a home with his money. For now, he's enjoying life's simple pleasures and along with his new home, he says he also wants a German Shepherd puppy.

"He is pretty well-adjusted. He says that he is not bitter," Gabi Silver, Philips' attorney said.

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Facebook Bans Maryland Artist For Turning 'MAGA' Hats Into Klan Hood And Swastika

A Maryland artist says her livelihood is in jeopardy after Facebook banned her page prohibiting her from contacting her followers of upcoming art shows. The offense? Turning Donald Trump's 'MAGA' hats into Ku Klux Klan hoods and Swastikas.

Kate Kretz says she rips apart the well-known red Make America Great Again hat and turns them into other divisive symbols. While speaking with WUSA 9, she said her art is meant to start a dialogue.

"The armband is actually titled, 'Only the Terrorized Own the Right to Name Symbols of Terror,' and so if people are afraid of people that are walking around with MAGA hats because they’re afraid of violence," Kretz said. "It’s not really up to the wearer to say 'oh you shouldn’t feel afraid of me.' "

Kretz said she mostly received positive feedback, but about four or five days after an image of a reimagined Swastika band made from the red MAGA hat appeared, Facebook shut down her page citing it violated community standards. Kretz appealed the decision but says she hasn't heard anything.

The Mount Rainier, Md resident said she buys knock-off MAGA hats for her art. "I wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting any money in [Trump’s] pocket,” Kretz said.

And while she knows art is subjective, as one of the many artists that help to make Facebook, she thinks Facebook should exercise more diplomacy.

"I understand doing things for the greater good," Kretz said. "However, I think artists are a big part of Facebook’s content providers, and they owe us a fair hearing.”

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