Students begin school year at Florida school, six months after massacre
Students at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school began a new school year amid beefed up security six months after a mass shooting that claimed 17 lives and rekindled the US debate over guns.
School Shooting in US
"It's never going to be normal again," said Lauren Hogg, a 15-year-old survivor and co-author with her brother David of a book about the wave of student activism set off by the Parkland, Florida massacre. "I can't help but constantly think about not only myself and my friends at my school, but constantly thinking about my friends at other schools who don't have as many safety precautions as we now do, and I worry about them," she told the ABC News podcast "Start Here" yesterday.
Reminders of the February 14 mass shooting - one of the deadliest in recent US history - are everywhere at the school in a suburban community north of Miami.
The banners that went up on the fence surrounding the school after the shooting are still there, along with their still timely message: "Be strong/Parkland strong." The actual building where the mass shooting (one of the deadliest in recent US history) unfolded remains closed, still considered a crime scene by police.
But other buildings in the high school complex have undergone changes: there are more surveillance cameras, more security personnel and just a single point of entry to the campus.
Broward County, where Parkland is located, has invested six million dollars to strengthen security in its public schools. School superintendent Robert Runcie says the county's 234 schools now have 10,000 up-to-date security cameras and a control center monitoring suspicious activity. Fencing and door systems that limit visitors' access to a single entry point are being installed in all the schools, he said in a column last month in the Sun-Sentinel, a local daily. All students, staff, and visitors are required to wear identification badges. And emergency drills are being increased. But not everybody feels reassured.
Anthony Borges, a 15-year-old who was shot five times during the rampage by a 19-year-old former student and is still recovering from his wounds, told ABC he won't go back to Majory Stoneman Douglas. "Maybe I'm not lucky next time, if it happens again," he said.
Borges, a native of Venezuela, has been nicknamed "Iron Man" because he stopped the bullets while holding a door closed to a room where 20 of his classmates were hiding. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the accused gunman, Nikolas Cruz, in a trial that could begin at the end of next year.