Freshmen give perspective on returning to Stoneman Douglas High School

PARKLAND, Fla. - Wednesday was day one. For freshman, like Brooke Harrison, there’s still three more years on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus.

WPTV asked her if it feels like she was back on the high school campus that she knew before Feb. 14, when 17 people were killed by a gunman on campus. 

FULL COVERAGE: Parkland school shooting

“Not at all. Everything just kind of changed,” she said, pausing to think for a few moments. “Everyone in high school is just their own little world, (now) it felt like we were all together, if that makes sense.”

Navigating through the armed guards, they started their day as they normally do with the pledge of allegiance. 

“Everyone started balling crying because they realized (some) of our classmates are going to be able to do that with us anymore,” she said. 

And then she said there were more tears after the school’s alma mater was played. 

The first class they attended on Wednesday was the same one each student was in on Feb. 14 when the shooting started, except for the freshman. That building is still sealed off since it's where the gunman focused much of his attention. 

Building 12 carries mixed emotions for Brooke. 

“As maybe triggering as it could have been,” she said about going back into the building, “I feel like I do need to maybe pay last respects or something like that. And a lot of my classmates feel the same way just as closure. Just to visit it one last time.”

The entire student body carries an obligation with them that only they know. For freshman it’s especially unique. 

“We’re going to be the class that passes it on through all the years of high school. We’re going to share our experiences and make sure that the kids of future classes understand what we went through and understand what needs to be done,” she said.

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