‘I want to heal’: Teen opens up about returning to school after massacre
A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student heading back to classes today after the Valentine's Day mass shooting says she thinks going back to the site of the tragedy can be "a healing process."
"We're supposed to be safe at school," said Samantha Grady, a junior who was grazed by a bullet during the massacre at the Parkland, Florida school. "No one should walk in a room, and as soon as you walk in, [wonder], 'Where's my escape route?'"
"No one should really have that fear," she told ABC News' "Nightline" recently.
"I want to heal. That's just my goal," Grady said. "And, I want to remember my high school experience. Yes, there was tragedy, but I want to overcome it."
Grady said that although she is not formally a member of the #NeverAgain movement, she wants to see change.
"My hope is that background checks will be strengthened and more specific causes will be enacted, in those checks, so this incident never happens again," she said.
Grady, who spoke to "Nightline" on Tuesday as she braced for her return to school today, is also grieving for her best friend, Helena Ramsay, who was one of 17 people killed in the shooting.
She said that while "it's normal" being at school, seeing other people with their close friends would likely remind her of that connection she lost. Grady said she spent much of her school day with Ramsay.
"Going throughout my day without that, it's something that I have to get used to," she said. "It's better to start sooner than wait until all of this emotion is all pent up."
Grady said that losing Ramsay had taught her to "appreciate the people who are here."
"You don't want to have any regrets," she said.
Grady also opened up to "Nightline" about seeing another slain classmate, Nicholas Dworet, on the ground after he was shot.
After the shooter left, Grady said, "Nick was laying down next to me and someone told me to check his pulse."
"I did, but I already assumed he was, unfortunately, he died," she said. "But I checked it anyway. After that I called 911."
The police responded and she was escorted outside and told to run.
"I've never run more fast," she said.