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Parkland’s legacy: Heightened security, stricter dress codes and political advocacy

A year after a gunman killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the lives and outlooks of students across the country are also permanently altered. The NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs spoke to several of them about the tragedy’s impact on their daily experiences, how safe they feel and the role of politics.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    This week marks a year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that took the lives of 17 students and educators.

    Tomorrow will be a day when many survivors take time again to remember, reflect and grieve.

    We wanted to take some time tonight to hear from students around the country.

    Our Student Reporting Labs network spoke to high schoolers from a number of states, including California, Michigan, Wisconsin, and South Carolina. We also heard from some college freshmen who recently had graduated.

    We asked students to talk about whether they felt safer or not, what had changed at their schools, and how they were being heard, and some of the larger concerns on their mind.

    Here's a sampling of what they had to say.

  • Kim Leadholm:

    The students of Parkland and the Parkland movement helped me change, because they really let me notice that my voice matters, that the youth voice matters, and that, although we are not legislators and political officials, we still can have our opinion and voice heard and can make a difference in regards to changes in our political platform.

  • Memphis Cleveland:

    Obviously, Parkland was a really big turning point in this, but it has happened in a lot of different places that, you know, maybe we don't hear about every day. But because of Parkland, so many things have changed, even in my smaller school.

  • Elliott Corbin:

    I have definitely become more paranoid in school a little bit. Like, right after it happened, everyone was a lot more paranoid than they are now. It's kind of washed away a little bit, but definitely a little bit more paranoid about going to school.

  • Lauren Bayless:

    Since the mass shooting in Parkland, I have definitely always been more aware of my surroundings, and I have definitely changed my mental state to, whenever I go into a room, think of where the exits are if anything did happen.

  • Jose Lopez:

    My school upped its security. And I see more security guards and personnel around. And while it doesn't make me feel safe, it's nice knowing they're there.

  • Jack Braithwaite:

    They have installed locks on the doors where someone has to buzz you in to get in to the school on every door. The doors are locked all the time. I know, in our class, there is a gate that is down all the time now.

  • Kaila Harris:

    They have been a lot stricter on, like, hats and hoodies and not having them on in school, or big jackets, just in case someone could be holding, you know, a weapon or anything in them.

  • Henry Kleppel:

    I think the most depressing thing about the Parkland incident is that I don't feel, and, in general, schools don't feel incredibly different, and it's almost as if it's just another shooting.

  • James Abbot:

    I actually feel unsafe, a lot more unsafe after Parkland, just because a lot more kids realize they have the opportunity to shoot up a school.

    They have — they all have the opportunity. You know that it's not that hard to get a gun, and a lot of kids know that. And they just — it's scary to think that there's kids out there that know that that's a choice.

  • Fernando Cienfuegos:

    A major change that I hope to see is a universal background check. To my knowledge, I know that, in some states, you're able to go to a gun show and just purchase a weapon with no background check. I think that's a very dangerous thing to think about.

  • Memphis Cleveland:

    People are seeing it. The people that are making the laws and the people that are changing the way we see these things, they're actually taking a step forward and doing something about it now.

    Even if it is just the seed, we're still going to be acting upon it. And it really has done a lot in the face of lawmakers and people that can make change.

  • Kim Leadholm:

    I feel hopeful that I will feel safer in the future. I think that the conversation is starting. And the idea that there will be gun restrictions and a safer future in our country is there, and it's possible, but I don't think we're there yet.

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