Survivor of Florida school shooting speaks out after Dalton incident

Survivor of Florida school shooting speaks out after Dalton incident

February 28th, 2018 by Emmett Gienapp in Breaking News

Staff Photo by C.B. Schmelter Dalton High School children and their parents file into the Dalton Convention Center. Students were moved from the school to the center to be release to their parents.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

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Just hours after a Dalton teacher barricaded himself in a classroom and fired a handgun out a window, survivors of last week's mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, began reaching out to students at Dalton High School.

Sara Imam, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said incidents like these that change lives forever and impact how a child feels at school.

"To learn that a teacher you know and trust has opened fire in your school must be devastating, traumatizing and scary really," she said in a message to a Times Free Press reporter.

"Any threat underscores a need for change. It doesn't matter whether those kids were hurt or not; their lives have henceforth forever been changed. They're never going to forget the sound of that gun.They'll never forget  the sirens blaring; or the darkness and unknowingness of a lockdown."

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She said the incident in Dalton was particularly concerning because the person who fired was a teacher, someone she said is there to protect students.

"But we see now that arming our teachers or having more guns on campus won't stop a threat - it may even be the problem, as it was today," she said. "It's time for America to change. It's time for us to realize that our children's lives are at stake. Because today could have been much worse. We're lucky it wasn't - but we can no longer take any chances."

A freshman at Dalton High School, David Garcia, said he was in the cafeteria when he first realized something was wrong.

"I was just eating lunch and all of a sudden people were running and yelling that it was a code red and it wasn't a drill," he said. "We all hid in locker rooms and they ended up keeping us in the gym."

"This has been scary for all of us but I can't help imagine what would happen if there was an active shooter targeting students.I choose not to live in fear, but I see how many people are scared of these things and it tears my heart."

Andrea Magana, another freshman, said her substitute teacher was about to give a quiz when someone spoke through the intercom and said the school was being placed on lockdown.

"We were scared and we piled up a bunch of desks against the door," she said. "I didn't have my cellphone with me and I was really concerned about my brother and other family members who go to school with me."

"I'm traumatized. I really don't plan on going back for the rest of the week at least. I feel like I don't want anyone to have to go through what I went through today, feeling it was like their last day. It was horrible."