Two weeks after a gunman took the lives of 17 people at a Broward County school, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to class for the first time.
It was an emotional day for the 3,000 students who attend the school, but the community and country has rallied around them following the tragedy.
The school's principal tweeted an encouraging message Tuesday night saying, "Looking forward to tomorrow Eagles! Remember our focus is on emotional readiness and comfort not curriculum."
Looking forward to tomorrow Eagles! Remember our focus is on emotional readiness and comfort not curriculum: so there is no need for backpacks. Come ready to start the healing process and #RECLAIMTHENEST 🦅🦅🦅🦅
— Principal Thompson (@PrincipalMSD) February 27, 2018
Teachers and staff have spent the last few days preparing the students' arrival. Security is very tight at the school with Broward County deputies now authorized to carry rifles on campus.
Law enforcement from various agencies in Florida were at the school Wednesday morning to welcome back the students.
"Boy, were we surprised. We didn’t realize that this many people would come. I'm proud of our officers and we're here to showing them we're with the kids and were supportive of them,” said Florida PBA President John Rivera.
Students will be dismissed at 11:40 a.m. each day this week as they transition back to school after two heartbreaking weeks.