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Quiet Morning As Stoneman Douglas High Students Go Back To School For Second Day

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned Thursday for their second day of classes since the shooting on Feb. 14 that killed 17.

This time around they were not greeted with the same fanfare as Wednesday, when crowds of supporters, police officers and even therapy dogs lined the perimeter of the school to welcome them back for the first time in two weeks.

Instead, students entered the building chatting with friends or listening to music on their earbuds -- things one might see on any ordinary school day, though things in Parkland are still far from ordinary.

There was still a noticeable police presence, with officers stationed at every corner of the high school. They helped direct the long lines of cars along Holmberg Road and Coral Springs Drive as parents dropped their kids off before classes began at 7:40 a.m.

Still many students walked to school, with the help of friendly crossing guards who ushered them along with greetings of “Good morning,” or “Have a nice day!”

Daniela Mescal, 17, was one of those students. The junior was in the freshman building the day of the shooting, where the bulk of the violence took place, and was injured in her leg and back.
Daniela has mostly recovered physically, and said coming to school and seeing her friends and teachers has helped make her feel better emotionally.

“It’s good to see everybody again and to feel love and support,” she said.

Daniela says while she’s been working to heal one day at a time, she’s also trying to support the activism she’s seen in many of her classmates.

“I would like to change the security in schools. I would like to see a change in gun control, obviously, and also I would like mental health help for people in schools,” she said.

Justin Gruber, 15, wants these changes as well. Inspired to take action after the violence, he joined fellow Parkland students and parents at the White House listening session on February 21 and spoke to President Trump.

“There needs to be significant change otherwise events like this will occur over and over again,” he said.

Justin is calling for an assault weapons ban. While he is happy to be back with his friends at school, he assured this won’t be the end of his activism.

“I’m going to keep going, whenever opportunity strikes, such as right now, just spreading the message,” he said.

But for now, it’s back to class.

Credit Stephani Colombini / WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media
Signs of support are still visible around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.