An open letter to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Gracie Bryant, Editor

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School went to school on a normal Tuesday, one that would turn into a life-altering day, changing their perspective on everything around them.  

The students went to the school they’ve been going to, alongside the students they’ve grown up with, for an education. The teachers left that morning with an objective to teach, alongside their coworkers, to try and change a student’s life.

The entirety of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School expected a normal day, but instead, experienced one of the most tragic, heartbreaking events imaginable.

Nearing the end of the day, an expelled student entered the school and opened fire on students, faculty and staff inside the building.

A regular Tuesday turned into one of horror and deep pain for students, families and an entire community as they lost 17 members of the Parkland family.

To the students that go to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, from one high school student to another: I’m so deeply sorry. I’m sorry that your everyday place, where you spend so much of your time, now has these deeply disturbing images attached to it. I’m sorry that your 15-minute countdown to leave school turned into an eternal dread of that time of day because of the memories that are now tagged along with it.

But I also know that ‘sorry’ doesn’t change anything.

I know that the hurt you’re feeling is deeper than I could ever imagine. The images and pain you’re having to cope with are heartbreaking and far worse than I could begin to believe. I know the videos that I’ve watched, that give me chills across my entire body, don’t even scratch the surface of how chilling you will feel stepping into your high school again.

I wish I had the answers, the reasoning to why this happened. I wish one single law could prevent this from ever happening again. I wish my words could take some of your pain away.

But the answer isn’t in this article. The thing you’re looking for to ease your pain I alone cannot give you, and for that, I’m also sorry.

However, despite the answers I don’t have, I wish to shed light onto how you, the tragedy you and your school went through, will forever impact myself, Chapman High School and the United States.

For myself, I will strive to never take another day at school for granted. I will strive to love the people around me because I never know when I will need their love. I, personally, will continue to pray for you, for your classmates, teachers, administrators and our country.

For Chapman, we will work to love the people around us, never making them feel like violence is the answer. We will speak up, working hard to better ourselves as a community and school.

As for the United States, I pray we turn to love. Some may not, and for that, I apologize. I wish there was one law to fix everything, but there isn’t. The problem lies within the heart of our country, the morals and things we lift up.

I pray we begin to lift up acceptance, that we become a nation of peace and love, understanding that we each differ, but can still be a community, that we can still be one.

I’m sorry that things like this have to happen, whether in Florida, California or here in South Carolina, but I believe light can be found in the darkest of times. Whether it’s a personal decision or a law, change will come and each person that lost his or her life, and those suffering from the mental disturbance from it, will be forever remembered as heroes.