Sword & Shield

Standing with Douglas

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Shock. Fear. Sadness. Anger. These were some of the feelings that circulated throughout Broward County following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this past February. 17 people were killed that day, and 14 injured in an attack that would start a national conversation about school safety and gun violence.
“I didn’t think anything like this could happen,” said Nancy Aleandre, English teacher. “[The shooting] confirmed to me that things like this can happen anywhere.”
Demonstrations, protests and acts of solidarity grew in size and significance in the days following the tragedy, as students and faculty grappled with the events that took place.
“A lot of teachers and students were on high alert all week,” Aleandre said. “ It was hard to maintain a calm demeanor when so many things were going on.”
A student lead walk out held on Wednesday, February 21 protested gun violence and inadequate mental health care laws. Holding signs, chanting, and marching, students walked off campus to send a message about school safety. Some students marched six miles to the US District Court Clerk in Fort Lauderdale.
“I marched off campus for two reasons,” said Yosef Elias, junior. “One, to make sure there will never be another 17 families that have to lose a child at school. And two, to protest the fact that because weapons such as semi automatic assault rifles are legal in the United States, I can no longer feel safe at school.”
Social media played a large role in the walkouts, as students posted plans and pictures on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Using the hashtags #neveragain and #msdstrong, students shared their experiences online to reach a wider audience.
A memorial planned by South’s Student Government Association took place on the 23rd of February to honor those who lost their lives. Tickets to the memorial were sold for one dollar each and all proceeds were donated to Stoneman Douglas.
“We felt the memorial would be a nice way to help faculty and students come together after everything that happened,” said Gelinsky Gelin, senior and SGA member. “It was important to unite as a school to honor the 17.”
At the memorial, students lined up to spell out “MSD Strong” before walking the track in lines of 17 to represent each victim. JROTC lowered the American flag to half staff and 17 people lined up in the middle of the football field, each holding a red balloon with the name of a victim on it. The name and description of each person who lost their life was then read as their balloon was released.
“The releasing of the balloons was sad, but moving. Hearing their names read out loud just made it all more real,” said Janina Smith, senior.
Although some time has passed since the shooting, the names and memories of those who lost their lives that tragic day will not be forgotten. The Parkland community’s strength during this time of sorrow will continue to inspire the country to take action. And students and faculty will continue to fight for safer school environments where no one will have to worry about the unthinkable happening, like it did on February 14, 2018.

Dear Douglas,

There is nothing we can say to take back the emotions, the events, the heartbreak, the scariest moment in your life. We can send our prayers, our condolences, everything we have, but nothing will remove that moment you had to endure. And for that we are truly sorry. We write this in shock, confusion, and heartbreak for you. And can’t even imagine what you are going through right now.

No one ever thinks it will be their school next. Next on the news. Next on the amber alert. Next to hear the gunshots. And we surely didn’t think it would be yours. We have code reds. Nothing ever happens. We have the fire alarms pulled. Nothing ever happens. We have police on campus. Nothing ever happens.

Unfortunately, the events that happened proved us wrong. And we sit with a knot in our stomach that may never go away. No one will ever understand what you felt in that moment. No one will ever truly get it. Never truly get the way your parents’ hearts dropped. The way you thought you might be sending your last texts. The way you thought about every single person you have ever loved.

Your bravery, courage and strength to help solve this disastrous issue is heartening, selfless and overall inspiring.

Stoneman Douglas, you are heroes in our eyes. We will fight with you to give the lives lost the justice they deserve. And we won’t stop until it’s earned. We’ve got your back through it all. And we will support you no matter what. We won’t stop until something is done. We are in this fight with you.

We will fight for Alyssa Alhadeff, Scott Beigel, Martin Duque, Nicholas Dworet, Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenberg, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsey, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup and Peter Wang. We will fight for you. And we will fight for every child and school in this country.

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