Two weeks after a former student shot and killed 14 students and three faculty members with an AR-15 rifle, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are headed back to those very halls as classes resume.
HAPPENING NOW: Students return to class at Stoneman Douglas High School for first time since shooting. https://t.co/zGCJQ1bSpj— ABC News (@ABC) February 28, 2018
Watch the video above from ABC to see students returning to school.
Many students carried flowers as they filed past police officers and well-wishers into the building.
Teachers and staff hope to ease students back into some sort of normalcy, starting with a shortened four-hour class schedule. They began at 7:40 a.m., starting with fourth-period classes — the same period when the shooting happened on the afternoon of February 14.
Samantha Grady, a junior whose best friend was killed in the shooting and was herself injured, told CNN she was hesitant to walk back in.
"But I know I have to ... start. I have to face it head-on," she told CNN outside, about an hour before the school day began.
"I have a lot of feelings about (starting the day in fourth period), because that class was the class where my friend was. ... I'm just going to see how I end up dealing with it."
Another student, Sawyer Garrity, 16, said she was "feeling a lot of things, anxious to say the least."
"We're expecting it to be a little crazy because you don't really know what to expect the first day you get back after something like this," she said. "How do you act when something like this happens? There's no code of conduct, there's no rule book, no guidelines to follow. We're all just guessing in the dark here."
To make the day as normal as can be, she planned to drive herself to school.
Ahead of Wednesday's first day back since the shooting, students returned to the school Sunday for the first time to retrieve backpacks and other personal items they were forced to abandon during the shooting. They also attended an orientation.
"Just seeing the building was scary," Francesca Lozano, a freshman at the school, said, adding that seeing friends "made it a lot better."
Parents joined students on Sunday as they walked by the three-story building where the shooting occurred, though it is now cordoned off by a chain-link fence that is decorated with banners of support from schools around the country. The Broward County school district has since proposed demolishing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School freshman building, where the gunman opened fire.
"Parents and students have resoundingly told me they can't go back into that building regardless of what we do," Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie explained. "The other piece I heard is that that building will be used as evidence in any type of legal process that goes forward, so we won't be able to access the building for a while anyway."
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.0comments
"Two of my best friends aren't here anymore," freshman Sammy Cooper said. "But I'm definitely going to school Wednesday. I will handle it."