Teachers and staff returning to work at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were greeted by the sight of a rainbow poking through the clouds over the school.
On Monday, teachers and staff at the Parkland, Florida high school returned for the first official day of work less than two weeks after the Valentine’s Day shooting that claimed the lives of 17 students and adults. As they drove into the school, they were greeted by signs of support with messages including “Welcome back! We love you.” They were also greeted by the sight of a vibrant rainbow in the sky just overhead.
On Sunday, thousands of students also returned to the school for an orientation and to retrieve backpacks and other personal items that they were forced to leave behind during the shooting. Parents joined students as they walked by the three-story freshmen building where the shooting occurred. The building remains closed, cordoned off by a chain-link fence that is now decorated in banners of support sent by schools across the country.
Standing just outside of the school, where a makeshift memorial now sits, were 17 people dressed as angels. According to organizer Terry Decarlo, the costumes are sent to mass shootings and disasters so the survivors "know angels are looking over them and protecting them,” and many of the angels there to support the high school students were survivors of the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub.
While classes are expected to resume Wednesday, Feb. 28, with counselors and service dogs on hand, survivors of the attack continue to be the outspoken voices for gun reform. Senior Emma Gonzalez became a leading voice in the movement after giving a long and impassioned speech at an anti-gun rally just days after the attack, criticizing the circular conversation around the issues of gun laws and mental health. Students have also organized the March for Our Lives as well as having planned multiple nationwide organized walkouts across the country.