PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – After a whirlwind day of rallies and meetings with 70 lawmakers, including Gov. Rick Scott, about 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to South Florida early Thursday morning.
Predawn, buses pulled into a supermarket parking lot to drop off the survivors after a marathon day at the capitol.
“They were composed. They were eloquent. They were articulate and everywhere we went people — they were just astounded by the ability to speak that way — as beautifully as they spoke, as passionately as they spoke,” said 4th grade teacher Cathy Kuhns who was a chaperone on the trip.
Meanwhile, as Stoneman Douglas students returned, there was another massive show of support at Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach. Students left their classrooms and organized a peace march. They even raised money for those affected by the shooting and showed their support for the message the teens from Stoneman Douglas delivered to Tallahassee.
“You guys are courageous and you guys are bold. When children start acting like leaders and leaders start acting like children, that’s how you know a change is coming,” said a student at Blanche Ely High School.
The students spent much of Wednesday pushing for control reform. This as the “Never Again” movement gains traction nationwide.
“People that we elected, the people with power, are willing to listen to us. They started to see that are not going to keep their seats if they don’t,” said Stoneman Douglas High student Melanie Weber.
Isabella Pfeiffer was in the final meeting of the day with Scott.
“There was a lot of tension in the room. You could tell because of how in love he is with guns and the NRA but he said that he was listening,” said Pfeiffer.
Hundreds of students joined the teens from Parkland at a rally at the Capitol, many furious that the House on Tuesday voted to not allow discussion on banning assault weapons. Some students who didn’t have appointments tried to confront lawmakers who blocked the discussion, but found doors closed to them. They couldn’t get to Miami Lakes Representative Jose Oliva, but that didn’t stop them from unloading on his staff.
“How would you feel if that was your child wondering if she would ever see you again, I bet you damn well that bill would have been passed by now,” said one fired up student.
Outside the Capitol, thousands rallied for gun restrictions and an assault rifle ban, the survivors from Parkland taking center stage.
“We are not trying to take away all of your guns, just the ones that are being used to kill innocent children almost every year,” said one student.
The rally came exactly a week after 17 students were killed when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student, opened fire in the school.
During meetings with lawmakers, the students urged them to pass common-sense reforms and not just offer meaningless platitudes.
“We’ve had enough of ‘thoughts and prayers’, we’ve had enough of ‘we’re in your consideration, we’re going to think about it, we’re going to how we feel because we support so much’ because we know that is not true. If you supported us you would have made a change long ago and you would be making a change now. So this is to every lawmaker out there, no longer can you take money from the NRA, no longer can you fly under the radar doing whatever it is that you want to do because we are coming after you. We are coming after every single one of you demanding action, demanding that you make a change,” said a Stoneman Douglas senior Delaney Tarr.
Gov. Scott will reportedly be releasing a plan in the coming days. Most students who attended the meetings said the lawmakers were receptive to them.
The students plan to stage a ‘March For Our Lives’ rally in Washington D.C. next month.