PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were greeted by a sea of support on their first day of class since the Feb. 14 mass shooting, as law enforcement agencies and residents from all over South Florida took time to let them know they care.
The Broward County Police Benevolent Association presented each student with a flower outside the Parkland campus, Wednesday morning.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel was also on hand, along with hundreds of police officers from across the state.
“This is overwhelming, the officers here. It’s incredible,” said supporter Evette Guralnick.
The display of solidarity extended to civilians who also showed up outside the campus. “I just feel very strongly that we are to support and to encourage and to help in any way that we can,” said Darlene Achille.
Lisa Fuchs and her dog Melody welcomed students near the entrance of the school. “We need this. We need more of this,” she said.
Amanda Anslow arrived with a petting zoo: two ponies, a donkey and a goat. “We just wanted to bring love and support for everyone,” she said.
The ponies’ names? Darth Vader and Chucky.
Volunteers also hoped to offer a sense of security, and that’s why the Guardian Angels were also present.
“An extra pair of ears and an extra pair of eyes for the police department. That’s what we are going to do out here for the rest of the school year,” said Guardian Angel David “Cobra” Clemente.
While students, faculty and staff face many more difficult days ahead, people in the community want them to know they will be there every step of the way.
“I’m out here to support my community and the kids of Stoneman Douglas, to let them know we are here to support them,” said Mike Smith.
Those who brought support animals said they are prepared to bring them back if they’re needed to provide a little extra comfort on campus.
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