Parkland Begins Demolition of Building from 2018 Shooting as Families Watch

PARKLAND, Fla. – A significant step is being taken in Parkland, Florida, as a crew prepares to demolish the three-story classroom building where 17 people tragically lost their lives in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The demolition is set to begin Friday, with the victims’ families given the opportunity to witness the initial demolition and even participate in breaking a piece off themselves if they wish. School officials aim to complete the weeks-long project before the return of the 3,300 students in August following their summer break. It is noted that most of the current students were in elementary school at the time of the shooting.

The building had been maintained to serve as evidence in the shooter’s 2022 penalty trial, where jurors walked through its bullet-riddled and blood-stained halls before ultimately sentencing him to life without parole. This decision marks a significant moment in the healing process for the community and the families affected by the tragedy. Other communities across the country, such as Connecticut and Texas, have also chosen to tear down school buildings following mass shootings as a way to move forward and honor the memories of those lost.

In the past year, relatives of the victims have led various figures, including Vice President Kamala Harris and members of Congress, on tours of the building to illustrate the importance of implementing improved safety measures in schools. The tours have been described as emotionally challenging, offering a poignant glimpse into the events of February 14, 2018. Objects like textbooks, laptops, and poignant memorabilia left behind have since been removed as part of the preparation for the demolition.

The Broward County school board faces the decision of what to build in place of the demolished building. Suggestions include a practice field for the band, Junior ROTC, and other groups, with a pathway connecting to a nearby memorial. This memorial, erected a few years ago, holds significance for many as it honors students who were members of the band or Junior ROTC. Some parents advocate for transforming the site into a permanent memorial, ensuring that the legacy of the victims is preserved and honored for years to come. This decision carries weight as the community continues to heal and remember those lost in the tragic event.