In the days following the deadly Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, gun control is back in the national conversation.
Leading that conversation are students, calling on their lawmakers to take action.
It was the first time the community has been able to step foot near the school where so many lives have been changed forever. But many teens who survived the massacre say they’re not going to sit around and watch another shooting happen somewhere else.
After losing some of their closest friends, these teens—some as young as 14 years old—are taking their future into their own hands.
“Being on that sidewalk where I was running with my hands up for my life a couple days ago, I almost cried cause I’m still in disbelief that it actually happened here,” said Junior Jaclyn Corin.
The road in front of the school reopened Sunday, allowing students to come back to where the tragedy took place last week.
“It is real, it happened and you need to change something because I don’t want any other student in America or in the world to deal with this,” Corin said.
On Sunday, dozens of students met at a park just feet away from that road to add the finishing touches to their big plan.
“They don’t know what it’s like to look down the barrel of the gun; we do,” Corin said.
Corin and 100 of her classmates plan to travel to the state’s capitol to split up and meet with every single congressman and house representative they can find.
“We’re speaking to both the democrats and republicans so this isn’t a party issue; this is merely an issue of students’ lives,” she said.
Corin says this is her way of coping with the loss of some of her closest friends, channeling her pain into political action.
“We’re gonna make MSD be in the history books for creating a change, for being a turning point in the country’s history. We’re not just gonna let Nickolas Cruz ruin the reputation of my school; we’re going to take the bad and make it good,” Corin said.
She adds that the group plans to head upstate Tuesday afternoon. Buses for their trip are being donated, and Florida State University has offered them a place to stay in their Civic Center.
School officials say the high school will reopen to staff by the end of the week. Students could be heading back to class next Monday.