Former Coral Springs teacher who quit after Parkland faces another school tragedy in Colorado

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - A former South Florida high school teacher who quit after the Parkland tragedy has found herself caught up in the chaos of another school shooting.

Julie Finkelstein thought she’d put a traumatic memory behind her after she quit her job as a teacher at J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs.

She said she didn’t feel safe as a teacher in South Florida anymore after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that resulted in 17 deaths.

Finkelstein ended up moving to escape school violence and now lives more than 1,000 miles away at Highlands Ranch, Colorado, which turned out to be the latest community in the nation to face another senseless school tragedy.

“Numb is probably the only word and disbelief,” said Finkelstein.

On Tuesday, eight students were injured and one lost his life while protecting his classmates after two shooters opened fire at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

Finkelstein, who changed careers after her move, was bartending at Rock Bottom Brewery when she looked up and saw dozens of students racing her way from the nearby STEM School.

“And they just keep coming in and coming in and coming in,” she said. “I knew what they were going through. I could see what they were going through.”

That’s when she said her instincts kicked in, and she began comforting the frightened students as they tried to make contact with their concerned families.

Although Finkelstein was somehow able to look fear in the face this time, she said she’s fully aware she still has a long way to go.

“I’ve had a lot of hills and valleys with trying to struggle with the reality of the dangers that were right in front of me and how lucky myself and my son and my friends are that were here,” she said.

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