Parkland, Florida high school students walked into Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday morning for their first, full, normal school day—three weeks to the day since the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history.
Principal Ty Thompson and his teachers, welcomed the boys and girls and a special guest, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Secretary DeVos came to Stoneman Douglas, where Building 12 remains locked up and a crime scene, to “connect with students and teachers” in the wake of the tragic shooting on Feb. 14.
Her visit inside the school was closed to the press, but afterward, she spoke to the media at a Parkland hotel.
“It was a very, as I said, sobering and inspiring moment and visit,” DeVos said. “I come committed on behalf of this administration to continuing to work to find solutions so that no student and no parent ever has to go through what this community has had to endure.”
She said she heard a variety of things from the students with whom she spoke with.
“Some of them are doing quite well, but they all acknowledge that it’s a day-to-day situation,” she said. “For students who were actually in the building involved, it’s very tough.”
School safety—and what to do about it—has dominated the political landscape since former student Nikolas Cruz allegedly took an Uber to the school, unpacked his AR-15 assault rifle with multiple magazines and unloaded 150 rounds inside the classrooms and hallways. Fourteen students died, along with one teacher, the athletic director and a coach. Sixteen others were shot and wounded.
In Tallahassee, the state capital, the Senate passed its Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act afterhours Monday night. It calls for raising the age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21, mandates a three-day waiting period for all gun purchases, boosts funding for mental health care and aims to post armed officers at ever school.
One controversial proposal, to arm teachers with guns in the classrooms if their school districts approve, was removed by the Senators. The proposal was opposed by Gov. Rick Scott. The bill is now in the Florida House and a House vote on the massive, $400 million package could come Wednesday.
Broward county prosecutors are presenting evidence in front of a secret, grand jury this week. A formal indictment with 17 counts of first-degree murder is expected.
Suspected mass killer Nikolas Cruz remains locked up in solitary confinement. Fox News has obtained jailhouse observations by corrections staff.
They include: "Inmate avoids eye contact, looks downward with blank stare," "appears to be coherent while speaking to his attorneys," "had a family visit per command staff," and "inmate requested to read i.e. (Bible)"