Survivors of the made their way back to classes Wednesday morning, hoping to regain some sense of normalcy, exactly two weeks after a gunman .
To get on campus, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland had to walk past the school building they fled in panic with their hands in the air or on the shoulders of classmates when confessed killer Nikolas Cruz carried out his massacre.
“It’s hard to come to terms with,” said freshman Simon Miller, 15, as he walked alone to school Wednesday. “It’s definitely going to be different but I’m ready for it.”
Mom Cynthia Sanseverino walked her daughter part of the way to school, until Kayla, a 16-year-old junior, headed off on her own in typical teen fashion.
“It’s been a constant to make sure she is ok,” the mom said of her daughter, a cross country runner, who lost her coach, Scott Beigel and friend Luke Hoyer in the attack.
“She wasn’t excited to return but she wanted to be with her friends again,” Sanseverino said. “There are no words to describe what living through this is.”
On Tuesday evening, Principal Ty Thompson for his students.
“Remember our focus is on emotional readiness and comfort,” he said, reminding students not to bring a backpack, as they’ll spend the day in short classes discussing the attack with grief counselors present.
Neighbors, students from other schools and other Floridians came to greet the survivors and shower them in hugs, with one woman even driving in from Pompano Beach 20 minutes away to show her support.
“We want them to know we are with them and we care,” said 15-year-old Michelle Guralnick, a Coral Glades High School student who cut class to support her friends.
“It could have been us,” she said, adding that she attended vigils for the victims and will be joining in the “March for Our Lives” in Washington D.C. on March 24.
As they headed to class, students as young as 14, called for gun control measures.
“Now is the right time for change,” said Daniel Duff. “We need some common sense gun laws and unlike Columbine we have social media to make ourselves heard.”
The school for parents and students to retrieve belongings, pay tribute to the dead and meet with school officials.
Today will be a half day, with dismissal at noon. Full days of classes will begin next Monday.