This Valentine's Day marks one year of the tragedy where 17 students were shot and 17 were injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. There are several memorials and ceremonies planned throughout Florida, across the country, and around the world. But there are special plans for MSD, the school will be open for a short day of community service projects. According to the school district, students can participate in projects including serving breakfast to first responders and packing meals for undernourished children.
However, I don’t know what the right answer is to appropriately pay our respects to the victims and their families this Thursday. I do have an idea of what wouldn’t be appropriate. Emotions will without a doubt run even higher than usual as the memories and sounds of that day are remembered. It’s my hope that we allow families the space and privacy they desire. Let’s not make it a day of protests and politicking. If someone engages you and tries to make it about that, at least for Thursday, don’t take the bait.
In a year since the day that changed Parkland and Valentine’s Day for the families forever a lot has been accomplished. We passed comprehensive reforms as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Safety Act. We passed a state Constitutional Amendment creating a state-run FBI to help prevent failures at the federal level. And, we haven’t had another attack at a school despite numerous threats.
There’s progress for this community to take pride in and reflect on one year later. Of course, there’s also a lot of work left to do. It’s remarkable that the Broward School District is still having “discussions” on the next steps to implement school security measures, for example. But we can pick that conversation back up on Friday. Again, let’s respect the wishes of those who lost loved ones a year ago on Thursday.
Photo by: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images