After a deadly shooting on February 14th, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has remained closed. During this time, students who survived the shooting have spoken out against gun violence, giving impassioned speeches and planning a nationwide protest. But on February 25th, for the first time since the shooting, students set foot on their school’s campus.
An orientation was held at Marjory Stoneman Douglas from 3 to 6 p.m., with grief counselors on campus at the time. Students, teachers, and parents flooded the grounds wearing shirts with sayings like “Douglas Strong.” Therapy dogs were there to help the students cope as well. Outside the school, 17 people stood in angel costumes, and 17 memorial crosses were covered with flowers and stuffed animals.
Several students, including freshman Sammy Cooper, had returned to the campus to recover backpacks they left behind during the shooting. Many students reported feeling panic or dread at the thought of being back on campus, but they persevered.
Although teachers have been back at work since February 23rd, classes won’t resume until Wednesday, February 28th. Marjory Stoneman Douglas will initially only hold classes for half a day, until March 5th, when the school plans to return to a full schedule. The building where the shooting took place will no longer be used for classes, and some have proposed building a memorial in its place.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas community has faced an incredible tragedy with the loss of the shooting’s 17 victims. Our hearts go out to the students and their families as they return to school this week.