Students have returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the first time since a gunman killed 17 students and staff members there.
Classes were back in session Wednesday, exactly two weeks after shots rang out in the Parkland, Fla., high school, but life was far from returning to normal.
“It’s a little nerve-racking that we’re back on campus,” a senior named Angie told WSVN. “It’s been awhile. You know, it’s going to be different. We’re going to have different things going on. I’m not just walking into school to do math or do English, but you know, it is what it is.”
On Fed. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz is alleged to have entered the school with an assault rifle, taking the lives of 14 students and three members of the staff.
As students returned, they were greeted by members of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, who presented them with flowers as they made their way back into their classrooms.
Members of multiple law enforcement agencies were also on hand to offer support and lend a sense of security to traumatized students.
Community members also displayed welcoming banners inside school for the kids to view on their return.
Others, including some parents of Stoneman Douglas students, stood outside in a show of solidarity as the day began.
Extra counselors were on hand for the students’ return.
“Yeah, our students need to be with each other — they need to be in school,” Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told WSVN. “Our teachers, they love our kids and that’s gonna help everyone I think really move forward.”
The school will hold just partial day sessions from Wednesday until Friday to ease students back into the routine.
“We’re giving kids flexibility so we can remove as many of the things that they need to worry about, so they can focus on the healing process,” said Runcie.