- Jorge Milian Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed Wednesday by a 19-year-old gunman, will re-open Thursday, according to a statement from Broward County Public Schools.
Only staff members will be allowed back on the sprawling campus in northwest Broward County. There is no mention in the statement when students will be permitted to return.
The school remains a crime scene and will be closed through Wednesday.
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Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school, is facing 17 first-degree murder counts after he confessed to shooting 14 students and three staff members around 2:30 p.m.
The death toll is the highest for a school shooting in the U.S. since 20 children and six staff members were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on December 14, 2012.
Ty Thompson, the principal at Douglas High, released an emotional video message Sunday on YouTube in which he promised that “I will hug each and every one of you as many times as you need and I will hold you as long you need me to, for all 3,300 of you and your families, and we will get through this together.”
Thompson thanked students and staff for their “heroic efforts” on Wednesday, adding that their adhering to safety protocols limited the number of those killed and injured.
“We lost 17 lives on Valentine’s Day,” Thompson said. “That’s supposed to be the international day of love. We’re going to take the love we lost on Wednesday and we’re going to spread that over the next day, weeks, months and, maybe, years.”