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.”