On February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed and seventeen more were wounded, making it one of the world’s deadliest school massacres.
The perpetrator, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was identified by witnesses and arrested shortly afterward. He confessed, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 attempted murders. Police and prosecutors have not yet offered a motive and are investigating “a pattern of disciplinary issues and unnerving behavior”.
Some students who began campaigning for gun control legislation also founded the advocacy group Never Again MSD. On March 9, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that raised the minimum age for buying rifles in Florida to 21, established waiting periods and background checks, allowed for the arming of qualified teachers and the hiring of school police, banned bump stocks and barred some potentially violent or mentally unstable people from possessing guns. The National Rifle Association immediately filed a lawsuit that challenged the federal constitutionality of the age requirement clause.
Teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas shared hugs and tears Friday as they returned to campus for the first time since a gunman’s rampage killed 17 people.The teacher — who requested to remain anonymous — told NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch students have talked to her “privately” about the shooting in February that left 17 people dead and more than a dozen others injured.
The unnamed educator said:
“I’ve had some students approach me privately to talk to me about it, but I should note that those student activists — none of them were ever in any danger during this whole thing. … None of them except for the one girl, Samantha Fuentes.
I have students in my class that were shot, but you don’t see them. They have the most personal experience of anyone except for that one girl.”
The teacher also said that — of the students she’s spoken with — none of them support Hogg, Kasky, or Gonzalez.
“There have been a lot of my students that have spoken to me about it privately, and they’ve told me word for word as well as paraphrasing that these kids don’t speak for all students,” she told Loesch.
In the aftermath of the shooting, some of the student survivors organized a group called Never Again MSD. The group was created on social media with the hashtag #NeverAgain,activism inspired in part by the ground broken by the #MeToo movement and the 2018 Women’s March.The group demanded legislative action to prevent similar shootings, and has condemned lawmakers who received political contributions from the National Rifle Association.The group held a rally on February 17 in Fort Lauderdale that was attended by hundreds of supporters.
Since the shooting, several more rallies have been planned to take place with the focus on legislative action. The Women’s March Network organized a 17-minute school walkout that took place on March 14. A series of demonstrations called “March for Our Lives” on March 24 included a march in Washington, D.C.