PARKLAND, Fla. – As Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students walked out of school Wednesday for the first time since the Feb. 14 mass shooting, a parent walked inside with a bouquet of flowers and a card for a teacher.
"I wanted to thank the teacher that helped my daughter out -- opened the door for her," Caesar Figueroa said.
Figueroa's daughter, Gabriella, hid in Ms. Gilliam's math class during the shooting.
During an open house Sunday, the teen walked her family around campus, including the hallway she ran in to escape the gunman.
"She ran upstairs, she banged on the first door and it was Code Red. The first teacher didn't let her in," Figueroa said. "She went to the next classroom and Ms. Gilliam let her in. She was stuck in the closet for 2 1/2 hours."
By all accounts, the first day back at Stoneman Douglas was filled with mixed emotions. In some classrooms, the tone was quiet. In others, there was a sense of measured relief.
"It was good to go back and there was a lot of support for my teachers. It was good getting to see everyone again," junior Dylan Bowerman said.
Ben Galper spent a few minutes petting a support dog after class let out and his parents picked him up -- a routine that's taken on a new meaning.
"It was just weird. It felt like it was the last day of school and we don't have our bags and we're just sitting in class," Ben, who is a freshman, said.
"It's not easy. It's not right," Ben's mother, Stacey Galper, said. "You want it to go back to normal, but the new normal is going to be a lot different."