'Do Something': Parkland Survivors Urge Action After Texas School Shooting
Survivors of the Parkland High School massacre say all Americans need to unite to help bring an end to these "preventable tragedies".
PARKLAND, Fla. (Reuters) -- Survivors of the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, vowed support on Friday for Texas students caught up in the latest deadly school shooting, saying tighter gun laws were needed to stop further bloodshed.
Students at Santa Fe High School, about 48 kilometres outside Houston, were among the thousands across the country who staged a walkout in April to protest congressional inaction after 17 students and staff members were killed by a former student on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
On Friday, the Texas high school came under attack, with at least 10 people killed by a student gunman, police said.
“You deserve more than Thoughts and Prayers, and after supporting us by walking out we will be there to support you by raising up your voices,” Emma Gonzalez, one of the leaders of the Parkland student movement, wrote on Twitter.
There was a heavy police presence outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Friday, as has been typical since the massacre. Friday’s shooting came on what was the last day of school for many Stoneman Douglas seniors, turning a moment of celebration into another somber reminder of the February attack.
“I should be celebrating my last day of high school, but instead my heart is broken to hear of the tragedy at Santa Fe,” student Delaney Tarr said on Twitter. “We cannot let this continue to be the norm. We cannot.”
As school ended for the day hundreds of students, many still wearing controversial clear backpacks ordered for use after the February shooting, streamed onto nearby sidewalks.
“It’s crazy how often this is happening,” said sophomore Michael Gregory, 16. “It’s difficult to see this happen in other places because you know what they’re going through, and it shouldn’t be happening.”
Many of the Parkland students have become outspoken proponents of gun control, pressuring companies to sever ties with the National Rifle Association and calling on legislators to pass gun safety laws as part of the #NeverAgain movement.
They helped lead hundreds of thousands of protesters who participated in the March for Our Lives demonstrations around the country this spring.
Student organisers at the school said each tragedy since theirs served as a reminder of the importance -- and difficulty -- of their efforts.
“In a way, we’ve been asleep,” said Daniel Tabares, a freshman who was in the middle of an advanced placement geography exam when the Texas shooting occurred. “We’ve been busy with our lives. This will re-energize us. It has to.”
Some Parkland survivors directed frustration at politicians for not doing more.
“Our children are being MURDERED and you’re treating this like a game,” student Jaclyn Corin wrote in response to President Donald Trump’s Twitter comments about the Texas shooting. “This is the 22nd school shooting just this year. DO SOMETHING.”
Parkland senior Diego Pfeiffer, an organizer of the #NeverAgain movement, said his classmates wanted to keep the focus on the families most affected by the Texas shooting.
“We came out of our experience wanting to tell our story,” he said in a text. “We are going to let them tell theirs.”
Reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Additional reporting and writing by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Cynthia Osterman and Tom Brown