On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., by a former student who had unfettered access to guns despite a trail of escalating warning signs.
One year later—during which a group of the teens who survived the massacre joined together and launched a nationwide anti-gun violence effort that rightfully put adults to shame—thousands of students and school faculty across Florida participated in a moment of silence honoring the 17 students and teachers who lost their lives.
The moment of silence took place at 10:17 a.m. ET on Thursday, the Associated Press reported, although the shooting actually began around 2:20 p.m. The time was selected to memorialize the 17 dead and to allow for Stoneman Douglas students to participate despite an early dismissal so they could avoid being on campus at the time the attack began.
More than 1,000 Florida schools participated in the action. At Stoneman Douglas, the principal read the names of the 17 victims over the loudspeaker, which freshman student Jayden Jaus described to the AP as “a bit emotional and a little intense.”
Stoneman Douglas students arrived to school on Thursday wearing burgundy #MSDStrong T-shirts, while an outdoor memorial in front of the school’s sign featured bouquets of flowers and and 17 angel figurines, the AP reported. Students worked on service projects during the day, while the school made grief counselors, therapy dogs, massages, and pedicures available to students, and scheduled an interfaith service at a park near the school. Jaus and fellow freshman student Matthew Sabia packed lunches for children in Haiti, while a junior, Alexis Grogan, told the wire service she would spend the day picking up beach trash.
Many students skipped the day altogether, understandably. From the AP:
Sophomore Julia Brighton would not go inside, instead placing flowers at the outdoor memorial. She said she suffered with nightmares for months. Staying outside “felt like it would be a better experience for me instead of being at school and putting myself through that,” she said.
Meanwhile, victims’ families who had previously spoken out said they’d spend the day visiting graves or participating in smaller events.
“We don’t need [the anniversary] to remind us what happened. We live with it every day,” Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow died in the attack, told the AP.