For many, Valentine's Day has now been transformed in their psyches to the anniversary of the Parkland shootings. One year ago today, on Valentine's Day 2018, 17 students and staff members from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were murdered when a student, Nikolas Cruz, walked into the freshman buidling with a bag containing a semiautomatic rifle, and 17 more were wounded.
Among those killed were heros such as geography teacher, Scott Beigel, who opened the door to his classroom so students could take refuge from the shooter, and as a result put himself in danger, and Aaron Feis, assistant coach and security guard who shielded students with his body.
A group of students responded to the massacre by founding a movement they called "Never Again MSD." The founders include David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Jaclyn Corin and Alex Wind, and Cameron Kasky. The group have become activists and continue to speak out against gun violence whenever the opportunity arises as well as creating those opportunities. In fact, last week, Kasky attended the State of The Union address and a House Judiicary Committee hearing on gun violence.
The group were the driving force who organized the National School Walkout of Mark 14 last year and the March of Our Lives that drew more than a million people across the nation to rallies for safe schools and an end to gun violence 10 days later.
Expenditures for school security have continued to rise since 1999, but many students still feel unsafe. Knowing that deputies and other safety officers "may" but are not required to confront active shooters is a point of contention for many Broward County families. Grants for nonprofits, faith based institutions, fire departments, EMS groups, law enforcement, and emergency services for safety & capacity building and other Homeland & National Security funding, including security systems for schools can be found on GrantWatch.
Gun control continues to be a controversial issue nationwide. The Never Again MSD students continue to lobby for tighter restrictions on firearms and are challenging the National Rifle Association and the politicians who support it.
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