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Faculty and staff returning to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday morning for the first time since a gunman killed 17 and wounded 15 on Valentine’s Day came back to a wholly different campus.
They made their way around a heavy police presence, orange cones blocking off parts of the road, and a swarm of TV trucks and cameras.
The chain-link fence surrounding their campus was woven with flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and posters with messages ranging from mournful to inspirational.
New signs, one listing the names of the victims under the date of the massacre and a heading that read “We Will Never Forget” and another with the school’s logo and the phrase “We Shall Overcome,” have appeared on the fence around the faculty and staff parking lot.
The entrance to the parking lot was guarded by law enforcement officers who checked teacher IDs before allowing them in for what is scheduled as a planning day.
“It’s great to see your smiling faces,” the assistant principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas said, leaning in to the driver side window of an arriving staffer.
Students are invited back to campus during a three-hour open house on Sunday afternoon. Classes resume Wednesday with an abbreviated schedule for students through the end of next week.
This story will be updated through the day Friday.