Marjory Stoneman Douglas students return to school after shooting

Well-wishers place mementos the day students and parents arrive for voluntary campus orientation at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, for the coming Wednesday's reopening, following last week's mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. REUTERS/Angel Valentin

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have returned to class for the first time following the deadly shooting at the school that killed 17 people two weeks ago.

The school resumed classes with a half-day schedule at it attempts to ease students back into the routine that they had before the violent shooting occurred. Classes will be dismissed at 11:40 a.m. to acclimate the students to being back to school.

According to Robert W. Runcie, the Broward schools superintendent, around 95 percent of the student body, which consisted of 3,283 students, had returned. However, it will still be days, if not weeks, before the students would return to their regular lessons.

Ty Thompson, the school’s principal, emphasized through social media that the school’s focus this week would be healing. “There is no need for backpacks,” he wrote on Twitter. “Come ready to start the healing process and #RECLAIM THE NEST.”

The students were accompanied by a number of counselors and therapy dogs on their first day back, after two weeks of funerals, flashbacks, vigils, and grief counseling. The Humane Society of Broward County released photos showing Stoneman Douglas students smiling while interacting with the therapy dogs.

David Hogg, a senior who has become one of the most outspoken survivors of the shooting, compared coming back to the school to repeatedly boarding a crashed plane.

“It’s just really hard to think about,” said Hogg. “Imagine getting in a plane crash and having to get back on the same plane again and again and again and being expected to learn and act like nothing’s wrong.”

Hogg also said he feels sick at the lack of legislative action by the government to strengthen school safety and gun control. “It’s a disgusting idea to think about,” he said. “Literally nothing’s changed except that 17 people are dead.”