Parkland High School calms down on mass shooting anniversary


“I like to leave town this time of year,” said Felicia Bourgin, an English teacher at Parkland, Florida.

On Friday, students and teachers will be offered a choice of services: from meetings with the first who work in the local garden to yoga on the beach and other events.

But many students will simply stay at home.

“We will never have a school on this day,” said Burgin.

FILE – Participants raise vigil candles for shooting victims at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, February 15, 2018, in Parkland, Florida.

Friday marks the second anniversary of campus mass shooting, which killed 17 children, and many survivors became household names across America as they fought for safer schools and stricter gun control laws.

Two years later, some may say that the tone of the dialogue fell a couple of octaves.

“I feel that they really made certain people who listened to them really get there on their politics page, but they don’t really think they’ve been hit hard,” said Max Georgeson, an MSD graduate, now a newbie at Florida State University.

Gina Montalto was 14 years old when she was killed at her school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. (Asha Barn / VOA)

School Security Site

But this week, Stand with Parkland, created by the parents of those who died at school in 2018, visited the White House to open a website designed for school administrators to check how safe their schools are and what they can do to improve,

“This is a huge victory for millions of American students and teachers,” said Tony Montalto, president of Stand with Parkland.

“The idea is that, you know, we need to put our policies aside and our personal feelings aside, and everyone gets together as an American family to protect students and teachers while they are at school … I will be very proud of that,” he added.

Montalto spoke with VOA after a brief presentation on campus. A two-hour lesson in kindness and attentiveness ended with Montalto and his wife briefly talking about the scholarship fund that they created for their daughter.

FILE – Austin Bearden, 17, cries on his friend’s shoulder after vigil at Parkland’s Baptist Church for shooting victims at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, February 15, 2018.

Jennifer Montalto said her late daughter Gina “loved Percy Jackson,” the fictional character and narrator of “Percy Jackson and the Olympic Fantasy Adventure Fiction.” She handed the reporter a light green rubber bracelet that says “Say hello to the sun and the stars for me,” a quote from the creator of Percy Jackson.

Jennifer hugged everyone who greeted her after the presentation.

Montalto has a younger son who will go to high school next year. Although they are proud of the work they have done at the national level, they say they do not feel comfortable sending him to Marjorie Stoneman Douglas.



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