As the anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School approaches, the larger South Florida community is coming together in different ways to remember the tragic event — as well as finding ways to cope.
According to Dr. Luz Maria Berrio, a licensed clinical psychologist, anniversaries of a traumatic event can cause mixed emotions. On Feb. 14 of last year, Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people at his former Parkland school. He has confessed to the crime, but as prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, a trial seems likely.
“Many of the students, staff, and parents may deal with reliving that day through flashbacks, intense emotions, a feeling of numbness,” Berrio said via email, adding these are symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
But, she said, there are ways for those affected to lessen the impact.
“Ways to cope may be by sharing that day with others who experienced the same loss and/or were in the same place,” she said. “Others may gather to remember the loved ones that were lost and celebrate the positive memories.”
Stoneman Douglas Principal Ty Thompson announced in an email last month that attendance will not be required this Thursday or Friday.
Communities around the county are showing their support of the Parkland community by leaving messages on social media using the hashtag #ParklandStrong and #MSDStrong.
Rudabeh Shahbazi, a CBS Miami news anchor, tweeted that “In just days it will be one year since the deadly shooting in Parkland. The survivors continue to show incredible courage and resilience.”
The South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper is encouraging readers to leave messages to be shared with the Parkland community.
On Thursday, an interfaith vigil is scheduled to be held in Pine Trails Park in Parkland, the site of a vigil held the day after the shooting.
On Saturday, a 5K run will be held in Hollywood, in honor of the late MSD security guard and coach Chris Hixon. Click here for more details. And, a Broward school district hotline is available for those who feel the need at 754-321-HELP or at WeSupport@browardschools.com.