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Emotions high as Santa Fe students return to school

By Sara Shayanian

May 29 (UPI) -- Students from Santa Fe High School returned to school for the first time Tuesday since the shooting attack that killed 10 people and injured 13.

Gunman Dimitrios Pagourtzis confessed to carrying out the attack, saying he aimed for those he didn't like at the Houston-area campus May 18.

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Classes were canceled for nearly two weeks and upon their return Tuesday, students were offered counseling to help them through the traumatic ordeal. A general assembly later will honor those who died.

"It's going to be tough," senior Annabelle O'Day told KHOU-TV. "There's going to be a lot of crying, you know? I don't know if I am prepared for it. I won't be able to tell you if I'm prepared for it until I walk into that school."

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Teacher Ken Harms said it was like a homecoming to have the students back on campus.

"We just have to get together, love one another, and just persevere," he told KTRK-TV.

Students needed to show identification to enter the school Tuesday and were allowed to take one parent or guardian. There will be an increased security presence for the rest of the year, and students will no longer be allowed to carry backpacks or large purses.

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Coming three months after the Parkland, Fla., attack, the Santa Fe shooting spurred more debate over gun control in the United States.

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez tweeted Tuesday Congress must act.

"Santa Fe High School students return to school today after a gunman destroyed their lives and split their memories into 'before' and 'after,'" Menendez tweeted. "Yet, with 23 school shootings in 2018 alone, this isn't even a new story anymore.

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"Congress must act. The American people demand it."

Pagourtzis, 17, is being held on charges of capital murder and aggravated assault.

RELATED 10 shot dead at Houston-area high school; explosives found

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