College students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College Wednesday returned to a safer campus as they started their first new faculty 12 months since a gunman killed 17 folks within the freshman constructing. However some say they nonetheless received’t really feel protected regardless of $6.5 million spent on safety enhancements, together with 18 security displays, new classroom locks and upgraded video surveillance.
All wore lanyards with IDs round their necks as they walked previous a heavy police presence. Volunteers greeted them with German Shepherds, and a helicopter hovered overhead as a throng of media watched from throughout the road.
Three faculty useful resource officers, three safety specialists and a dozen campus displays will likely be on patrol. They’ll be holding watch at new fences and gates originally and finish of the college day, to make sure that solely employees and college students sporting ID badges are allowed to enter.
Guests can have just one approach in, and so they’ll be screened via a video intercom system. The district had deliberate so as to add steel detectors however reversed course amid considerations over privateness and the impracticality of making an attempt to clear 1000’s of scholars earlier than every day’s morning bell.
All classroom doorways have new that robotically locks when doorways are pulled shut. Witnesses mentioned trainer Scott Beigel and pupil Joaquin Oliver have been fatally shot as they ushered college students inside to security, partly as a result of the previous required relocking from the skin.
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Many reminders have been faraway from the campus, comparable to posters and memorials. However the freshman constructing nonetheless stands as a solemn reminder of the bloodshed, surrounded by a everlasting new fence as prosecutors proceed to make use of the crime scene for his or her authorized case. The lessons it as soon as held have been diverted to just about three dozen new transportable school rooms.
Aria Siccone, 15, was there in the course of the Valentine’s Day rampage. She watched one among her classmates pounding on the classroom door, making an attempt to flee the shooter, and stays haunted by his terror-stricken face moments earlier than he was gunned down. The gunshots began shortly after he knocked, and so they couldn’t let him in. When a SWAT crew later led her out of the constructing, she noticed our bodies within the hallway.
“I’m completely happy to have the ability to see all of my buddies, however I’ve been very anxious about returning to highschool,” she mentioned. “I’m petrified of being at any faculty, not solely Douglas, as a result of I really feel unsafe regardless of how a lot safety we now have.”
Samantha Deitsch spent Tuesday night time texting about first-day jitters together with her buddies and questioning what her academics can be like. She acquired a brand new backpack and is grateful she’ll be sharing a lunch interval with a number of buddies. However her buddy Jamie Guttenberg, who was killed, received’t be with them.
“The stress, the nerves, all that ordinary stuff remains to be there,” she mentioned. “It’s like regular teenager stuff and on the similar time it’s not regular teenager stuff.
Deitsch, additionally 15, spent the summer season assembly with state lawmakers to advocate for gun security, and says she’s grateful for the beefed-up safety, however like Siccone, she says “there’s actually no place that I’m on daily basis that I really feel 100 per cent protected and the thought doesn’t undergo my head that somebody may are available with a gun.”
The case towards taking pictures suspect Nikolas Cruz continues in courtroom, the place the Broward County faculty board needs a decide to carry the South Florida Solar Sentinel in contempt, and different points involving proof and a trial date may come up at a Wednesday listening to.
The board claims the newspaper violated courtroom orders by publishing particulars about Cruz’s instructional background that have been presupposed to be redacted to guard his privateness. The newspaper contends the board had already uncovered these particulars by mistakenly releasing them in a approach anybody may see.