Parkland shooting reignites debate over gun laws, school safety

Local community shows its support in hardest of times

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PARKLAND, Florida – Thousands of people continue to show their love and support for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community after 17 people were killed by a gunman on campus.

It’s been almost two weeks since the Valentine's Day mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida.

Michelle Thompson said her daughter, a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has seen the worst things imaginable. 

“She was in the building. She heard all the shots. She could’ve easily been in the line of fire. She had to walk past the bodies. No child should have to go through that,” Thompson said. 

Thompson said something needs to change following the shooting. 

“We have to zoom into the issues that are there and don’t be in a denial mode or stage. This happening in Parkland is a wakeup call. Parkland is an upscale community, where a lot of people think we are safe over here and we are not. It can happen in the most remote area and the most popular area,” Thompson said.

People continue paying their respects for the victims of the shooting at a memorial established at the school and an amphitheater nearby. 

While conversations about the issue of school safety continue across the country, students are asking what steps lawmakers will take to prevent this from happening again in other communities. 

Broward County School teacher Traci Leon said her family knows one of the victims. 

“Devastation. We still are. It’s been two weeks and we are sort of in shock still,” Leon said. 

Leon said her class made banners and donations, but she is still concerned about the future.

“I’ve been OK with the active shooter training and all of that, but I just don’t think schools are places for guns for anyone,” Leon said. 

Students also visited the site to show support and love. Hannah Huleatt, a student from Mount Academy in New York, believes students can bring the change. 

“I think if young people decide to change something they can change a lot. I think something will come out of this,” Huleatt said. 

Families affected by the tragedy hope the students are heard. 

“I do hope that politicians will listen, put politics aside and start making our school safer,” Thompson said. 

Thompson said Parkland is a strong community that will move forward together. 

“The community will move forward. The community is strong. The community will come together,” Thompson said.

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