Florida students return to 'picture of education in fear'
PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — About 50 uniformed officers marched into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School early today, just one aspect of the heavy security as classes resumed for the first time since 17 students and teachers were killed by a troubled teenager with an AR-15, thrusting them into the center of the nation's gun debate.
The heavily armed police presence, designed to make the community feel secure, is also disturbing in itself, some students said.
"This is a picture of education in fear in this country. The NRA wants more people just like this, with that exact firearm to scare more people and sell more guns," said David Hogg, who has become a leading voice in the students' movement to control assault weapons. "I know one of those bullets could be shredding through me if I was misidentified as a school shooter," Hogg added.
Grief counselors are on campus as well "to provide a lot of love, a lot of understanding" and help students "ease back" into their school routines, Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said. Officers with therapy dogs also stood outside.
Volunteers passed out cookies and brownies to students. The students were also greeted by therapy animals including a donkey and two horses. One of the horses had "eagle pride" written on it.
Backpacks were not allowed.
Today's class schedule started with 4th period, so that students and teachers could return to the people they were with during the shooting. The freshman building where the massacre took place remains cordoned off.