Students made an emotional return Wednesday to Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where they were greeted by heavy security and well-wishers bearing flowers, two weeks on from a shooting which killed 17 people.
“I’m not scared,” said 16-year-old Sean Cummings as he prepared to resume classes with his fellow students.
“It’s just weird to come back after everything that has happened.”
Neighbors along with pupils from other schools and Marjory Stoneman Douglas alumni waved at the teenagers and gave them encouragement as they entered the campus.
Two women offered free water and breakfast fruit. Retired police officers handed out flowers.
“I feel like it’s more protected than any other school at this point, but it’s still weird to see everybody here and all these police officers,” Cummings told AFP.
“It’s going to be nice to see all my teachers again. It will be nice to go back.”
On Valentine’s Day, former student Nikolas Cruz entered the school and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing 14 students and three staff members.
Since the shooting, Stoneman students have been lobbying politicians for stricter gun controls both in their home state of Florida and in Washington.
Republican lawmakers, with majorities in the US and Florida legislatures, have been cool on bringing in major reforms on the sales of firearms.
Pressure, however, is growing on businesses.
On Wednesday Dick’s Sporting Goods, a large chain store selling sporting and hunting items announced that it would immediately stop selling assault-style rifles and would not sell guns to anyone under the age of 21.