PARKLAND, Fla. - The first day back to class for Stoneman Douglas students wasn’t about learning. It was about grieving and healing.
“Today was definitely more compassion over the curriculum and that was really reiterated over the entire day," said Demitri Hoth, a senior.
The school held a 17-second moment of silence this morning for the shooting victims.
“One of the victims was in two of my classes and I thought that was going to be really difficult and it was," Demitri said of going through the school day for the first time without his friend.
The rest of the day students say they mostly talked about their thoughts and feelings with their teachers and peers.
“Most teachers would talk about saying, 'I hope you guys are ok. There’s counselors. There’s [therapy] dogs. There’s plenty of things you can do'" said Ben Galper, a freshman. "Some were giving out stress balls. Some had games set up to distract you. You could just play a card game with your friends.”
Students say togetherness is what they needed at this point.
“Although there were people crying, it was still hard, but I think the best coping mechanism is being with friends," said Noah Sacks, a junior.
“Everyone was eager to see each other. It was inviting really," said Michael Wallace, a junior. "The teachers were really nice to everybody.”
Students remain on a modified schedule the rest of the week.
“Those who really didn’t even know me or just kind of see me in class would give me hugs or high fives or things like that just because we all know each other and we’re all ok," Galper said.