A landmark of horror and heartbreak — Building 1200 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — has been scheduled for demolition as soon as the current academic year is over in 2024, the Broward County School District announced.
The sixth anniversary of the state’s worst school shooting will pass before the walls come tumbling down. But it will be a milestone for the survivors.
“It’s been very painful driving by the site of the Parkland school shooting for the last 5 1/2 years knowing that’s where Alex took his last breath,” Max Schachter posted on X as the news spread, remembering his son. “I look forward to the day when there will be a beautiful memorial in its place commemorating the 17 beautiful people murdered Valentine’s Day 2018. NEVERFORGETMSD17″
No classes have been held there since a teenage shooter went on a rampage through the building on Feb. 14, 2018, killing 14 students and three staff members and wounding 17 others. The incident was the state’s worst school shooting, and it spurred a slew of new laws like the one that increased the age required for purchasing a long gun, similar to the one used in the massacre. It also prompted new school safety measures.
A Broward County Schools news release thanked the community for their patience and understanding for the event that’s been more than five years coming.
“Broward County Public Schools reached this decision in consultation with health and safety experts and out of concern for the well-being of students and staff on campus,” the news release says.
The building was kept standing for jurors to tour in 2022 during the penalty phase of the shooter’s trial, ending in a life imprisonment sentence.
It also remained intact for a lawsuit against Scot Peterson, the former Sheriff’s deputy, for failing to engage the shooter during the deadly rampage. The shooting was reenacted by court order to gather evidence that will likely be compared to Peterson’s statements that he couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from as he stood outside.
Soon after that August re-enactment, U.S. Reps. Jared Moskowitz and Mario Diaz-Balart brought seven of their fellow members of Congress on a tour of the building that had remained frozen in time with bloodstained floors, broken glass, and scattered homework.
“When you see tragedies on TV from a thousand feet away, you don’t see what it’s like when a school is turned into a war zone,” said Moskowitz, a Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional School Safety and Security Caucus, in a prepared statement released after the tour.
“You can read about it all day, but walking through the building is an unparalleled experience that I believe every person in a position of power should see. It’s the most brutal reminder that we must do so much more to protect our schools and ensure that when parents drop their kids off, they get to come home.”
Republican state Sen. Ben Albritton, who will be Senate President of the Florida Senate after the 2024 election, took a two-hour tour of the massacre site last week, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, Senate Democratic Leader-designate Jason Pizzo and state Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, who was Parkland Mayor at the time of the tragedy, were also in attendance, the paper reported.