PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the return of students and teachers to classes following the killings of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School(all times local):
Teachers and students are arriving early at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, their first day back after an expelled classmate with an AR-15 killed 17 people in a Valentine’s Day massacre that has profoundly altered the lives of survivors.
A long line of cars bringing people back to the school in Parkland, Florida is being guided by police as dozens of television trucks and vehicles camp out nearby.
Only students, parents, and staff are being allowed through a security cordon. The main entrance is covered with a sign saying “Welcome Back Eagles.”
The walkway leading onto the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is lined with flowers and photographs, memorials to the 17 students and teachers killed in a Valentine’s Day massacre that forever altered their lives and thrust them into the center of the nation’s gun debate.
Alexis Grogan, a 15-year-old sophomore, was among those planning to wear maroon, a Stoneman Douglas color, among other things honoring those who died. She said she’s nervous after losing her friend Luke Hoyer, who sat two seats behind her in Spanish. Still, she says support from her fellow students and their fight to strengthen gun control laws is keeping her strong.
Relatives of the victims kept up pressure Tuesday in Florida’s capital with emotional testimony during a legislative hearing to discuss raising the age limit to buy long guns from 18 to 21.
The bill also would create a program that allows teachers who receive law-enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff’s office to carry concealed weapons in the classroom, if also approved by the school district. The school’s superintendent has spoken out firmly against that measure.