It was a normal day — until it wasn’t. Haylee Glazer, 16, went to school Feb. 14 looking forward to another boring day at school. "And it was a normal day until five minutes before the bell rang," Glazer says.
That’s when the fire alarm went off. The next thing she knew she was leaving school, cop cars were directing streams of students behind a softball field at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Later that evening, Glazer, a high school junior would learn that at least 17 people were killed after a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at school. But at the time she thought it was a joke. A drill, maybe. After all, the students already had a fire drill earlier in the day.
“I was like ‘really, really man are we going to do another one of these?’” Glazer says. “Then everyone was saying someone has a gun. They’re firing blanks. It's a drill. They’re just trying to scare us.”
She FaceTimed her parents telling them she thought it was a drill. They told her to just stay safe.
Then she started getting texts from friends saying four people had been shot. She saw photos and videos of computers riddled with bullet holes and the sound of someone running down the hallway banging on doors.
Now, the videos are everywhere.
“It’s like I can’t get away from it,” Glazer said. “I want to stop hearing about it. It makes me sad. It’s just a reminder of what happened.”
For the past 24 hours she’s seen photos and stories of victims like senior Meadow Pollack spread across her social media: “She was really nice and smart,” Glazer says.
Still, Glazer considers herself lucky not to have witnessed worse. Her best friend was in the freshman hall where the shooting took place and saw her teacher lying dead on the floor.
“I never thought it would be Douglas honestly...It was shocking and it still is,” Glazer says. “I can’t believe my classmates are dead and many are injured.”
The school had recently rolled out new security and evacuation procedures, Glazer says. All the teachers in every period had to go over them with students on the day they were implemented, about a month ago. The school had also done lockdown drills before, but none so far this year.
One of those new security procedures dictated that [outside] doors remain locked, but she said that wasn’t always the case. The freshman building, where the shooting occurred, always remained unlocked, Glazer says. She added, “If they locked the doors there would have to be someone on the first floor to let the person in the building. They have to have someone there every single second of the day it’s unrealistic.”
From now on, though, Glazer expects the school to take extraordinary precautions. Already the community is on high alert. Earlier Thursday cops were called after someone reportedly heard a gunshot at North Broward Preparatory School about eight miles from yesterday’s shooting. It turned out to be a false alarm.
Glazer says she’s seen news reports about the thousands of mass shootings since the murder of 20 elementary school students at Sandy Hook in 2012 and reports of about 18 other shootings at schools or college campuses this year. While the numbers are disturbing, Glazer’s adamant that it’s important for everyone to move forward.
“We shouldn’t be scared to go to school,” she says.