A Project for Better Journalism chapter

National Concern After Florida School Shooting Reaches Greenway


Wednesday, February 14, 2018: a day that will live in infamy. On this day, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, armed with an assault rifle and murdered 17 innocent people and injured 14 others. This incident is considered to be one of the most tragic school shootings in United States history. According to Time Magazine, Cruz’s attorney said he’s willing to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence in prison, without the possibility of parole; meanwhile, many people are in favor of him receiving the death penalty.

Mug shot of the suspected shooter

In the week following the attack, many students have made public appearances and given speeches that called out lawmakers for their inability to prevent situations like this. Many pushed for some kind of new gun control and/or new laws to help make schools safer. Many students also planned to go the Florida State Capitol and talk to Florida Governor Rick Scott as well. Students marched in support of school shooting prevention called “The march of our lives”, which took place on March 24th on Capitol Hill.

Also on March 14th, students nationwide participated in a “walkout” at school to honor the 17 lives lost. Greenway was no exception.  Over 100 students left class to participate in a vigil in the quad which honored the 17 victims.  The names of each person who perished were read aloud, and Greenway students stood in silence. (Below is a link to watch The Greenway Broadcasting Company’s video of Greenway’s vigil created by Letzany Hernandez and Dainera Browen)

With all these events happening, many people may start to question the security of their own school. Mr. Vreeken has a few things to tell students on this matter that’ll hopefully answer any questions they have and alleviate any fears.

“I’m optimistic that we’ve created a healthy community where people feel safe. We have very strong ties with local law enforcement and surrounding businesses. We want students and staff to know that if they see something they should say something because it helps ensure the safety of everyone here. Pay attention and know your surroundings. We’ve designed drills to help prepare for any situation and have plans set in stone for when they’re needed.”

“The main contributor to situations like these is social media. All it takes is one person to create widespread panic that is totally unnecessary. Many people end up overreacting to things just because they heard it from a friend. Kids shouldn’t spread information unless they know it’s true, that way no unnecessary scares are caused,” Mr. Vreeken added.

“As a school, we aren’t allowed to take sides on the subject of protesting. If students believe in participating with protests, all we ask is to think everything over before you follow through. Don’t sacrifice your education. Organizing things outside of school is good and you have the right to voice your opinion, just don’t allow it to become more important than your learning and future.”

“I’m not afraid to come to work everyday. I want to make sure that staff and students never have to feel concerned about coming to school. Greenway is a community and a home to many. It’s one big family and were in this together,” Vreeken concluded.