A student walks at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where classes resumed Monday following spring break and the national March For Our Lives rallies that called for stricter anti-gun legislation. Clear backpacks are among the new security measures at the campus. File Photo by Gary Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
April 2 (UPI) -- Students returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Monday for the first time since they organized one of the largest youth-led protests in U.S. history, March For Our Lives.
The students faced strict new security measures at the campus, implemented after the Feb. 14 attack by Nikolas Cruz that killed 14 students and three educators.
"We will have to go through security checkpoints and be given clear backpacks, my school is starting to feel like a prison," MSD student Sarah Chadwick tweeted.
In addition to the mandatory clear backpacks, provided by the Broward County School District, students also must wear IDs at all times and will be under an increased security presence on campus.
MSD principal Ty Thompson said in a memo to parents that entering the campus will be similar to entering "a sporting event, concert, or even Disney World."
Only four entry points will be available to students before school. After classes begin each morning, the front office will be the only available entry onto school grounds.
Students at the school must adapt to the new environment after a whirlwind six weeks that saw the shooting's aftermath, spring break and the March For Our Lives rallies. Some believe the new security measures are a violation of privacy, like junior Dylan Bowerman, who told the Sun Sentinel the clear backpacks make him feel "uneasy."
A string of other incidents at the school -- threats on social media and two students bringing knives to the school -- have added to the tension and prompted a need for tighter security.
"It is very difficult to balance both convenience/privacy with safety/security; if there is more of one, the other often suffers, but I will do my best to balance the two," Thompson wrote in the memo.
Many MSD students returned to campus Monday feeling their attempt to strengthen gun control laws with the March For Our Lives rally were not fruitful.
"There's still that sense of melancholy, because what's going to happen from this?" senior David Bishop said. "It's not like there was a magical bill that was passed that fixed all the things after the march. That didn't happen."