Parkland shooting: reactions, concerns & improving safety in schools

Educational institutions are supposed to be a safe haven for your kids, but after another school shooting in the united states, some parents are increasingly worried their children’s safety.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder for opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida Wednesday.

Cruz appeared in court Thursday afternoon and was ordered held without bail. He was wearing an orange jumpsuit with his hands cuffed at his waist during the Thursday afternoon hearing. His attorney did not contest the order and had her arm around Cruz during the brief court appearance.

Collier County Public Schools announced Wednesday night they’d increase patrol on campuses across the county, including in private and charter schools.

Collier Sheriff, Superintendent Announce Enhanced Safety PlanWe were deeply saddened to hear the news of the school…

Posted by Collier County Public School District on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Just last week, Collier County had an incident of their own at Barron Collier High School where a child put out a “Hit list” on social media.

He was expelled.

Most parents we spoke to expressed fear, but some say we need to explain to our kids better the difference between right and wrong.

In Lee County, the sheriff’s office reiterated their safety plan with the school district.

A statement from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office:Sheriff Mike Scott, Undersheriff Carmine Marceno and the entire Lee…

Posted by Lee County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, February 15, 2018

Parents concerned for children’s safety

For many parents, something as normal as dropping their kids off at school didn’t feel right Thursday.

“(They) wanted to stay home today but you know, I told them they just needed to go,” said parent Ramie Hall.

“My main concern is that you drop your child at school but you don’t know if you’re gonna get them back or if anything is going to happen,” said parent Lismarie Rivera.

While these parents had the privilege of bringing their children home safe, some Parkland families did not have the chance.

And now parents are pressing for more security at schools. The school district says that is already in the works.

“We’re looking at our safety and security protocols. We accomplish that through drills. We accomplish that through training of all of our staff and our students,” officials said.

The district also said fitting safety and security technology into their budget is a must.

“I don’t think it will ever be enough because if a guy wants to kill someone, he’ll kill the security guard and just keep on going,” Rivera said.

Cape Coral charter schools have already planned new training sessions this month. The Lee County school district is also looking to bring in a joint presence of both Lee County deputies and Fort Myers police at some schools.

Remembering the lives taken too soon

“I heard one gunshot. Nobody really thought anything of it. Then I heard two more,” said 10th grade student Sophia Rodriguez.

As the magnitude of what happened at their school starts to set in, emotions are running high.

Rodriguez says she ran as fast as she could away from the shots. Her friend, 11th grade student Camila Padilla, hid in the auditorium with about 50 other students and teachers.

Padilla’s parents got a chilling text from their daughter that said, “There’s a shooter”, something no parent ever wants to read.

On Thursday, hundreds of people came together at Parkridge Church to hold hands and pray for the 17 victims and their families, remembering lives taken too soon.

Senior Taylor Thompson knew 4 of the 17 people killed.

“I mean, the people who were killed, they weren’t malicious people. They were innocent, nice kids,” Thompson said.

But beyond that, she says she knew the person behind the gun too.

“I knew Nikolas Cruz. I had him in a class last year and I knew something wasn’t right with him,” she said.

Now students, parents and teachers have one message for everyone else.

“Cherish what you have because tomorrow it might be gone.”

Charlotte County schools prepare for the worst

Parent’s say their child’s safety is always their concern. And for Charlotte County Schools, security is a top priority.

“After 38 years in this, our role used to be the most important thing was reading, writing and arithmetic and today the most thing is the safety of that child and our staff at a school,” said Mike Riley, Charlotte County Schools Spokesman.

Schools leaders are willing to make changes if needed.

Riley said, “We’re open to new ideas and suggestions. Like I say we work closely with law enforcement on that. If someone has an answer on how to stop that, we’re open to it.”

The district wants parents to know there are already a number of security measures in place.

“We have a system, you know, to check into the school where a person has to display their drivers license so a stranger just cant walk into school and walk around.” he said.

Armed school resource officers are also stationed on every campus, and students so “Code red” active shooter drills twice a year.”

While some parents say it’s time to install metal detectors or search students bags, others say they don’t think that’s the right move.

But even with all the security measures in place parents and school officials say they know there’s only so much they can do.

If someone is willing to sacrifice their life to do harm, it’s almost impossible to stop them.

CBS News contributed to this report

Reporter:Kristi Gross
Olivia Mancino
Taylor Bisacky
Writer:Erica Brown