Nadege Green and Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

From Liberty City To Parkland, Children And Teens Are Fed Up With Gun Violence

In South Florida, it's happened before -- young people rallying and raising their voices against gun violence. About a dozen elementary school kids took to the streets inside the Liberty Square housing projects in April 2016 chanting, " We don't want to die; stop shooting. We don't want to die; stop shooting."

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Miami Herald

Peter Wang, a 15-year-old freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who spent the last moments of his life protecting other children, was buried on Tuesday.

There were too many people to fit in the Kraeer Funeral Home where the memorial service for Peter was held, so several hundred mourners—at least 200 of them students—crowded under a white tent in the parking lot out front.

The memorial was in English and Chinese, and the clear theme was that Peter died a hero.

Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

After a major tragedy like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, people offer condolences with the pledge to keep victims in their “thoughts and prayers.” Many have become disillusioned by the phrase.

The deadly shooting happened on Ash Wednesday, a day of repentance for many within the Catholic and Protestant Christian traditions. Religious leaders in South Florida say faith communities can offer more besides prayers.

Stoneman Shooting Survivors
Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

Students who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people vowed to make sure that their classmates did not die in vain. 

On Tuesday, a full St. Andrew Catholic Church in Coral Springs honored and said goodbyes to 17-year-old Carmen Schentrup, a senior who planned to attend the University of Florida to pursue medicine in some way. She loved red lipstick and teal purses, and was described by friends as a determined perfectionist.  

Emilee McGovern / WLRN News

A few days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 16-year-old Aiden Edrich carried a bouquet of hydrangeas from Publix, still wrapped in plastic. He walked over to a makeshift memorial of teddy bears and crosses.

“For all the victims, all 17 victims," he said. "It's just to show our respect to the community." 

His parents brought him and his sister to the memorial just down the street from the high school.

Broward County Sheriff's Office via AP

A 15-year-old student who was shot five times during last week's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is credited with saving the lives of at least 20 other students.

A fundraising site says Anthony Borges was shot in both legs and his back while attempting to close and lock a classroom door last Wednesday. Seventeen people were killed.

Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

At the request of Florida's governor, mental health experts, educators and law enforcement professionals met Tuesday in Tallahassee at workshops following last week’s school shooting.

The main goal of these gatherings is to identify measures that can be taken before the end of the legislative session to improve safety in schools, gun control and resources for mental health. The last day of the session is March 9.

Miami Herald Archive

Miami-Dade County’s school system wants an extra $30 million this year from Florida to better prepare classrooms for a mass-shooting era — with bulletproof glass, advanced monitoring of social media and social workers trying to spot troubled students before they erupt in violence.

The requested state money would let Miami-Dade hire more police and mental-health workers, beef up school security with automatically locking doors and upgraded public announcement systems, and purchase software and hire staff to mine social media for potential threats.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard may be one of the most liberal mayors in Florida, so he would be a natural candidate to push through a package of local gun-control rules in the wake of the Parkland massacre 50 miles away. But that would be against the law.

Florida bans cities and counties from imposing their own gun-control rules. Seven years ago, the Republican-controlled Legislature even created a $5,000 fine it can impose on mayors like Stoddard if they ever try to enforce stricter regulations on firearms.

Following last week’s mass school shooting, about 100 Parkland students are expected to come to Tallahassee this week to speak to Florida lawmakers about gun control. It comes just as an NRA-backed bill was withdrawn from consideration. But, some may see the student’s gun control views as a bit “naive.”

Odalis Garcia / WLRN

Monday night's rain was not an obstacle for more than a hundred people who showed up at  Betti Stradling Park in Coral Springs, just five minutes from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, to participate in one of the several candlelight vigils organized by the Florida Parent Teacher Association (PTA) around the state to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting. 

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