Nearly 20% of the student population didn’t show up Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after two fellow students were charged with bringing weapons to campus, another made a threat of violence on social media and a security guard was found asleep in his car.
Many said they had already planned to take the day off to prepare for their trip to Washington, on Thursday, ahead of the March for Our Lives rallies planned for Saturday. Friday is a teacher workday at the high school in Parkland, Florida, giving students an extra day in their spring break, which goes through April 1.
But others are staying away due to the stress and fear they still feel more than a month after 17 people were killed at the school by a former student – especially after the arrests Tuesday, and the fact that the gunman’s brother, Zachary Cruz, was allegedly caught trespassing on the Stoneman Douglas campus on Monday. He appeared in court Tuesday for that offense.
Out of a student population of roughly 3,280 students, 724 were absent first period Wednesday and 646 were absent second period, according to Broward County Schools spokeswoman Nadine Drew; that’s about 21.9% and 19.5% of the student body, respectively.
CNN reporters and producers have been talking and corresponding with some students on social media. Here’s what they’re saying about their decision to go – or not go – to school.
Sammy Feuerman, 17, senior
Feuerman, whose best friend, Joaquin Oliver, died in the February 14 massacre, was among those who didn’t go to school. He’s not sure it’s safe enough to go back yet.
“I need to see it to believe it, that’s when I go back,” he said about security measures at Stoneman Douglas.