Olga Zeveleva
15 February 18:10.

What happened in Parkland, Florida?

2 answers

I was in my biology class that day. There was a fire alarm that morning, and then another alarm in the afternoon again, and it was very strange to have two in one day – they don't usually do that. During a fire alarm we have to go outside. The second time we were coming out, we heard gun shots. Someone said they were going to shoot blanks for the drill, but suddenly, once we were outside, we looked at the building and saw some people running.

Our group started to walk back to class, but everyone was freaking out. About ten or twenty minutes in, my friend got a message that people had died. When we walked back to class, our teacher freaked out too, and when we walked back out again we saw dead people. Everyone was freaking out and crying.

It turned out that Nikolas Cruz had pulled the fire alarm in the morning to see where people would come out from, and later on in the day he pulled it again and stood in a place where he could shoot the people coming out.

One of the teachers was lying on the floor as I came out, and one of my buddies in my first period of class died. He seemed so loved. One of my friends, Kyle, got shot in the leg. He’s okay, he’s in the hospital in surgery. I tried to stay calm. I knew I wasn't going to die – I started praying and hoping that we can get it over with.

My buddy called me when I was already outside, he told me he was still in the building – I was so scared at that moment, I was hoping he would be okay, we had been friends forever. My friend witnessed the shooting and told me the shooter had tried to break in the classroom where his was, but then he gave up and tried somewhere else. People in the classroom were screaming, but my buddy stayed calm and told them they had to be quiet. That was God – he stopped the shooter so that he didn't go into my buddy’s classroom. When I was outside I saw a lot of people just running  away – one of my friends, as soon as he heard gunshots the first time, he just ran home..

The first thing I was worried about was my friends, and I was so happy to see people’s faces after that. I’m so glad it’s over. They found the guy (Nikolas Cruz) near my house. Parkland is a really small place. Everyone knows each other. My friend lost a brother. Everyone is down and sad, and we all hope it won’t happen again.

Today I am with my mom and I have a few friends over at my house – my mom wants to see all my friends because I think she’s pretty traumatised. It’s hard for us to watch the news. It’s going to be hard to get over it – the community is so small and going back to the place where people we know died will be so sad. I’m praying for my friends who lost siblings and family members. It doesn't feel real – today, when I woke up, I though it was a dream, but it was real, unfortunately.

My friends and I are talking about what we think about it – a kid just walked onto campus armed, and that shouldn't be allowed. You shouldn't be able to come in from the outside, the school should be a very closed space, and we should have dogs. I think this was really preventable.

I was not at Stoneman Douglas when the shooting happened. I am a student at a neighboring private high school. However, numerous students st my school including me know a lot of people that attend Douglas. When we heard of the shooting, we immediate were all scared for lives of all at Douglas. It was a painful experience knowing what people were going through even though we were not directly affected. There has been strong solidarity at my school for Douglas.

Moreover, my school was temporarily on lockdown the day after the Douglas shooting because of a situation involving a possible shooter on our campus. I am in a state of shock, and I am still not sure what happened. There are a lot of police on the scene at my school, we still don't know a lot, but they were recommending all students to leave. The situation seems to be over for now, but we're not sure what happened - no one is injured, but it's just a lot to take - it's just a messed up world at the moment.

I have good friends that have best friends and family members who were slaughtered during the massacre at the neighboring Douglas school, and it pains me to think about what they are going through. The whole community around Douglas is really in shock and in pain right now. Even if we were not directly involved, it hurts us as we know Douglas students all too well.

At my school, we are showing solidarity by wearing Douglas school colors to school tomorrow and I and the school will be holding fundraisers to help those involved. I am personally in pain that I cannot do more to help.

It’s going to take a long time for the ashes of this horrific and absolutely tragic event to go away. All we really can do is pray and assist how we can to ensure the victims and families, and all those affected get the help and privacy they need.