Classes resumed Tuesday at Santa Fe High School, less than two weeks after a student shot 10 people to death in an art classroom in the nation’s deadliest school attack since the massacre in Parkland, Florida.
Students at the school near Houston were greeted by more than 20 law enforcement vehicles and supporters holding signs saying, “Santa Fe Strong” and “United We Stand.”
The day began with a two-hour assembly honoring the victims; and counselors were available for anyone who needed to talk about the May 18 shooting that took the lives of eight students and two substitute teachers.
Students who had classes in the area of the shooting were the first allowed back in, followed by the rest about two hours later.
Senior Hailey Hubbard was returning for her final week of high school.
“Honestly, I just want to go back so I can see my friends and not spend my last three days of senior year just being secluded in a room.” She said she did not want the shooting to be her last memory of high school.
Hubbard said some of her friends were more ambivalent about returning to campus, and that she had to help calm down a friend who suffered a panic attack at the thought of going back to school.
Her mother, she added, was also “terrified” of her returning.
Students lined up in front of the school’s main entrance, which was the only approved entrance. They were not allowed to carry backpacks or large purses, and were required to show an ID before entering.
Authorities have charged Dimitrios Pagourtzis with capital murder in the attack. He’s accused of using a shotgun and pistol that belonged to his father. The 17-year-old remained jailed without bond in Galveston.
Also Tuesday, the hospital treating a school police officer who was badly wounded in the attack announced that his condition had been upgraded from critical to serious.
Officer John Barnes was shot in the arm when he confronted the gunman. A bullet damaged the bone and a major blood vessel around his elbow. He remains in the intensive care unit.