"The shooting doesn't define us", he said.
Upon emerging from a half-day of classes meant to ease their return after the tragedy, some of the roughly 3,000 teens who attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, described their emotional day. He threw his cellphone at the man and then sprinted from the building, fracturing his foot as he leaped over a stairwell.
Connected through the viral Twitter campaign #NeverAgain, high schoolers in multiple Florida counties and some students in other states agreed that now is the time for change gun policies.
Students like sophomore Liam Kiernan are grateful for the love and support.
A combination of verbal and social media threats and warnings circulated around Central York High School Tuesday, Feb. 20, and students were given the option to go home early.
Bruna Oliveira, a 14-year-old freshman who saw her favorite teacher shot in the chest, has spent the past two weeks in counseling.
"We're not going to stop", she said, "because this is just going to happen again". They tackled her and she tackled them. So far, Runcie said, only 15 students and four employees have expressed interest.
As for the confessed gunman, Nikolas Cruz, is behind bars.
We watched as he walked around Stoneman Douglas handing out gift cards to deputies and kids and lending a feather to students still grieving from the shooting.
But several districts including Poland and Boardman told WFMJ news that allowing students to walk out of the schools during an advertised time and date violates their safety protocols. "Teachers were giving out Play-Doh, and we were coloring and eating", says Berkowitz.
Barna said students maintained their composure throughout the school day, but it was hard to ignore the spaces created by classmates who were killed two weeks ago or those still recovering from injuries. "When you see the empty desks, it's real". Up until 11.30 pm the night before working on preparations for the March 14 national school walkout against gun violence, she said she's not afraid to be returning, just nervous.
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But for now, it's back to class.
"They're sad", Todd said. Only 15 students and four teachers have inquired about switching schools.
"We have an obligation to keep our kids safe even during a peaceful demonstration", said Campbell Superintendent Matt Bowen. "We took a major step in the recovery process. The walkout gives students like myself a voice and an opportunity to make change". "But it was also refreshing to talk to everyone because people don t really understand how it feels, no matter how much they try to understand".
Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow was killed in the shooting, turned out to show his support for increased security in schools.
There was no way to ever repay Gilliam, but Figueroa said he had to do something. "Our young people should not be underestimated". "We are truly grateful".
Following the shooting, Trump called for teachers to be armed and trained, a suggestion rejected by many educators.
The long-time gun owner counts himself among the many Americans who are closely watching the national gun debate.
The debate over how to respond to the school shootings pulled in corporate America, with gun retailer Dick's Sporting Goods Inc yesterday saying it would no longer sell assault-style rifles, the type of weapon used in four of the five deadliest mass shootings by a single gunman in USA history, as well as Parkland.
For many students, the past two weeks have been punctuated by vigils, marches, funerals for classmates and teachers, and trips to grief counseling.
The objective is not only to support the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but also to ask Congress and the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation that bans assault weapons and requires background checks for anyone purchasing a gun.