The Parkland Students Are Back At School, But They're Not Done Speaking Up

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Mid-August typically marks the first day of school for most students, but in this school's case it marks six months since a heartbreaking ordeal. On Aug. 15, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School opened its doors yet again for a new school year, and these Parkland students' quotes about their first day of school reminds us that this tragedy will never be forgotten.

Just six months back, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL experienced a terrible tragedy, when a shooter opened fire and killed 17 people on Feb. 14. Since then, the Florida students have been spending their time stepping up and fighting for gun policy reform, but summer is officially over and it's time to return to the campus that changed these students' lives forever.

Current Parkland student Lauren Hogg spoke to ABC News' "Start Here" podcast on the morning of Aug. 15 about how she's constantly thinking about the safety of herself and her friends, as well as students of other schools who don't have the same security measures as her classmates. She said,

I wish we didn't have to experience this new normal. I wish it was just like every other year — I'd pick out my clothes, I'd have a good time —but this year, I can't help but constantly think about not only myself and my friends at my school, but constantly thinking about my friends at other schools who don't have as many safety precautions as we now do, and I worry about them.
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Hogg isn't the only student who feels a noticeable change while returning back to school. On Aug. 14, Parkland student Kyle Kashuv spoke to FOX News about returning to Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and he said he didn't feel the school had taken adequate measures for student safety. Kashuv, who has differed from many of the other student survivors regarding his stances on gun control and student safety, said,

It's really solemn going back to school, but my peers are excited to get back to learning. But, there's also the essence where school safety hasn't been amped up and there hasn't been sufficient measures that have been promised to us. We were promised metal detectors and armed guards and we've gotten nothing of those. Right now we basically have unarmed staffers and that's all that we've been given. There haven't been proper safety inflations. We still don't have fences. Nothing truly has been done substantially to secure the safety of my peers.

A number of Marjory Stoneman Douglas students also took to Twitter to share their thoughts on returning to school. While this certainly cannot be an easy day for these survivors, Parkland grad Delaney Tarr took to Twitter in an effort to support her fellow students on during this difficult day. She wrote,

Reminder that tomorrow school starts at MSD, and that it will be so very difficult for every student returning. Please, send them love and strength. Don’t forget about them.

Tarr isn't the only one who wrote inspiring and uplifting messages on Twitter. Her fellow student survivors Cameron Kasky, Ryan Deitsch, and Jaclyn Corin also used social media to commemorate the six month anniversary of the senseless tragedy.

Our thoughts are with the students of Parkland on their first day of school. Continue learning, but rest assured all of you have already taught us so much.