Stoneman Douglas survivor to take online classes while advocating for gun control

PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - A survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will finish out her senior year online to give her extra time to advocate for increased gun control laws.

Samantha Fuentes was among those students who returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday. However, instead of returning for class, she returned to withdraw and become an online student.

“I’m withdrawing from school, so I can finish it online,” she said. “I feel mixed opinions, or mixed emotions. I mean, I want to be part of Stoneman Douglas, and I want to live out the rest of my high school career normally, but there is no such thing as normal anymore.”

Fuentes was shot in both legs, and has several pieces of shrapnel lodged in her leg and face. One of them is stuck behind her right eye; that piece will never be removed and will serve as a reminder of the Feb. 14 massacre.

Fuentes, who now uses a cane to walk, lost two friends in the Feb. 14 shooting. Seventeen people were killed in total.

As she works to get better, the senior said she has no plans to just sit around at home. “As I’m recovering and taking online courses, I’d like to take the chance to travel and speak to large audiences, spread my message,” she said, “speak to lawmakers, attend rallies, be everywhere I need to be so that people can hear me clearly.”

Like many other Stoneman Douglas students, Fuentes is demanding stricter gun laws and wants schools to have bulletproof windows, metal detectors and increased security. She also wants people to be 21 or older to be able to buy a gun and for assault rifles to be banned.

“These mass shootings and these shootings in general are completely avoidable instances, and we need to do everything in our power to keep it so that we don’t ever have to worry about a mass shooting in schools or anywhere in America,” Fuentes said.

For now, she believes Stoneman Douglas will overcome this tragedy, but that healing process still has a long way to go.

“I think this time everyone is gonna take the time to regroup and console one another and just appreciate each other’s existence,” she said, “because we lost such precious lives. It’s kinda hard to want to return to normalcy.”

Fuentes said that after she graduates and finishes advocating for gun control laws, she will go to college. Multiple schools have accepted her, but she has not decided which one she will attend.

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