PARKLAND, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Grief counselors are being made available to students and staff after a mass shooting at their Florida high school killed 17 people and left 14 others hospitalized with wounds and injuries.
The Broward County school district says counseling will be offered at five locations for anyone affected by Wednesday afternoon’s shooting.
“We are doing everything that we can to make sure that we are supporting our students,” Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie said. “Throughout the district we are providing guidance to all of our schools on how to have conversations with our students on this particular topic.”
“Students have been reaching out to me, reaching out to staff, probably board members and others saying that now, now is the time for this country to have a real conversation on sensible gun control laws,” he added. “Our students are asking for that conversation, and I hope we can get it done in this general but if we don’t, they will.”
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, now a crime scene, will remain closed through the President’s Day weekend.
“One of my friends died and it hasn’t hit me yet,” a student said. “You just don’t feel it until you like, actually go back into school and realize, oh that person’s not there.”
“It’s just different when it hits home,” one mother said. “You read about it, you see it when it happens but when it’s your backyard, when it’s your child that’s hiding — it’s just sort of different.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with the school,” another woman said. “We always felt so safe in Parkland, Parkland schools. So that’s our huge concern.”
President Donald Trump addressed the nation Thursday saying, “Our entire nation with one heavy heart is praying for the victims and their families.”
The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He was arrested about two miles from the school shortly after the shooting and initially taken to a hospital with breathing problems.
Cruz was questioned overnight and booked into the Broward County Jail early Thursday.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)