Teachers officially return Monday to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Community gathers to welcome back staff

By Erica Rakow - Reporter, Terrell Forney - Reporter

PARKLAND, Fla. - While about 85 percent of teachers and staff returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Friday, Monday and Tuesday are official teacher work days.

There is extra security at the Parkland school since the Feb. 14 shooting when 17 people were killed and, for the time being, employees are required to show their ID before being allowed onto campus.

"That is going to remain there for the remainder of the school year and into the foreseeable future," Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said. 

People from the community gathered near the school to cheer on the teachers to welcome them back to Stoneman Douglas.

"I'm just here to represent a bunch of people who want to welcome the teachers, who we need so bad and are so amazing, and they're just having a hard time getting back," Irma Parone said. 

A rainbow lingered over the campus as teachers pulled in for their first official work day since a gunman open fired on campus. 

"For all of these students, along with the teaches and staff to step foot onto this campus, it's a hard move and I'm just shaking for them, but we will move on and that's why we are here," parent Joy Kanter said.

On Sunday, staff, students and their parents were welcomed back onto campus for an open house-style event. Comfort dogs were on hand and counseling was offered to those who needed it.

Students who had classes in the freshman building were informed of where they'd report to now.

"They're just wonderful people and they're having such a hard time and, you know, many of them have seen the nastiest thing you can ever imagine," Parone said. "I know some in particular that just said at first they couldn't come back until they talked to some of the students who said, 'We really need you.'" 

Teachers will have another planning day Tuesday before students return Wednesday morning.

"We're trying to do what we can to ease the transition here," Runcie said. "Anyone that decides that they may not be up to a full day -- we're providing accommodations for them to leave whenever they need to."

One parent told Local 10 News that his daughter didn't want to return to school following the shooting.

"I don't blame her, but we're going to help the teachers so they can help them, and we can all come together and help these kids get through this over time," Ian Kravitz said.

The students will be on modified schedule Wednesday-Friday from 7:40 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.

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