Tragedy Hits Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School


Students at high school being led outside the school onto the street near firetrucks.

Daymara Fernandez, Staff Writer

In only the first two months of this year, there have already been eight school shootings in America and eighteen shooting incidents on school grounds. Most recently, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has left schools and residents around the area shocked by the blatant display of violence that left seventeen students and faculty dead. As a high school only a few miles away, this has left our own staff and students wondering if their lives are safe. Most importantly, however, it leaves a mind-boggling impression on our teens, who have already grown accustomed to hearing about these devastating events, which are happening to children of the same age.

The person said to be responsible is suspect Nikolas Cruz, a nineteen-year-old former student that had been previously expelled for disruptive behavior. He is currently held responsible for the death of seventeen people (all of whom have been identified by their families), with fourteen others wounded and five individuals severely injured. It is claimed that he shot students from seven different classrooms from a three-story building. School officials claim the breach of the code-red security protocol was due to the sudden activation of a fire alarm, which according to the principal of the school, Lisa Maxwell, “overrides the code red.” Cruz was accused of using an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle.

“The despicable actions that developed last Wednesday at the public Broward school are as despicable as they are inexcusable. We, as a society, have numbed this generation from sympathy due to excessive violence portrayed everywhere we look. We can no longer sit back and simply observe as our communities, our nation, our government refuses to focus on the main issue at hand,” freshman Chloe Grant said.

Cruz entered the high school around twenty minutes before the end of the day bell rang. He managed to get inside from the open gates found around the campus. Normally, they close completely during all school hours, and not until the end of the day are they opened by security for students to leave freely and parents to pick them up. Knowing the regular routine of the school, he was easily able to get past security and enter campus, when he almost immediately started firing. As the principal explained, the school had called a code red, but since a fire alarm was triggered (most likely by the gunner himself), some students were fleeing outside the school, making themselves an open target.

“I think it was a horrible tragedy that we should learn from and try our best to make sure it never happens again,” freshman Sophia Rebull said.

Following the precedent, as soon as the authorities were called to the school, Cruz fled the perimeter; he was found an hour later in Coral Springs. Of course, during the incident, students across the school were communicating through social media sources, and posts online from various students were a great alert to authorities. Cruz had even created a channel where he had posted a video titled, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” Thankfully, the FBI had been wary of this video for over six months.

In addition to the worries of the families affected by these continuous tragedies, members of different communities, predominantly across South Florida, but also throughout the whole country, have been thinking of different ways to prevent such terrifying situations from occurring. This has brought out the idea of the need for more mental health services, as there seems to be a correlation between school shooters and mental illness. Moreover, it also surfaced our laws on gun control and the never-ending debate of gun control. Like many higher government officials, Florida Senator Marco Rubio tried to send his condolences, but the people on Twitter seemed to destroy all his intentions with questions about his funding related to the National Rifle Association (NRA).