MSD students unnerved by series of false fire alarm scares

Schools chief says malfunction in system has been repaired

By Sanela Sabovic - Reporter

PARKLAND, Fla. - A series of fire alarms that have gone off recently at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is scaring students and taking them back to that fateful day in February when they lost 14 classmates and three school leaders in the mass shooting. 

Multiple parents told reporters Wednesday that more needs to be done in terms of security at the Parkland school.  

"It messes up your concentration for the rest of the day," MSD sophomore Maddie Zeltwanger said.  

Since school started four weeks ago, students have been hearing the fire alarm go off on multiple occasions. 

It rang twice Wednesday and it brings back painful memories from Feb. 14, when a gunman opened fire in the school.

"Eight people in my class were shot and three died," Zeltwanger said. "I feel like I'm waiting to hear the gunshots again."

Parents said they are doing their best to comfort their kids.

"She has real PTSD symptoms and this triggers those symptoms," Kim Zeltwanger said of her daughter. "I actually spent about a half an hour on the phone with her while she was in the bathroom trying to recover a panic attack."

About a dozen parents gathered in front of the school Wednesday and have expressed their concerns about the fire alarms.

One forwarded Local 10 News an email from the school principal acknowledging that one alarm rang and saying there was a malfunction in the system.

"At approximately 11:18 a.m. today, during lunch, the fire alarm was activated," the email read. "Again, within seconds, we silenced the alarm; made an announcement to remain calm and wait for further direction. A malfunction took place in the communication panel."

In another email from the school's principal, he states that it is unfortunate that the school has had all those unnecessary alarms and said it saddens him, too.

Late Wednesday, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said the district and Coral Springs Fire Department had resolved the issue.

"We understand the impact and seriousness of this and are assigning fire officials to MSD to monitor fire alarm panels and immediately respond to any incidents," Runcie said.

 

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