Broward Schools has announced the demolition of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s 1200 building is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2024, immediately following the conclusion of the 2023/24 school year.
"In my opinion, it is time the building gets torn down," said Hunter Pollack in a statement to The Floridian. Pollack's sister Meadow was one of seventeen people murdered in that building on February 14, 2018.
"The community will never forget, however, the community does not need to be reminded every time they drive past the building," said Pollack. "The building likely leaves students and staff at the school feeling uneasy while walking on campus. That uneasy feeling can be detrimental to their mental health and overall affect their education. It’s time we knock it down."
The building has remained vacant for the last five years, a sober reminder of what happened on February 14, 2018, when a gunman opened fire killing seventeen people and injuring seventeen others. In 2022, Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty to the charges against him but was spared the death penalty due to the jury failing to reach a unanimous decision. A new law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis now ensures a sole juror cannot veto a capital sentence.
Hunter Pollack went on graduate from Florida State University with a law degree and passed the bar exam last week.
"I'm proud to say I earned my Law Degree from FSU," Pollack posted. "My educational journey started in an alternative high school where I graduated with a low GPA. When Meadow was killed I was barely passing community college classes. Her death compelled me to take my education more seriously."
Hunter S. Pollack, Esquire. pic.twitter.com/kB0uZX1GvT
— Hunter Pollack (@PollackHunter) September 19, 2023
Pollack says he does not favor a large memorial on the building site.
"The campus doesn’t need a big memorial that would welcome strangers to come and visit it. That’d be a safety risk to the students," said Pollack. "But before we talk about a memorial on MSD campus, what’s the status on the memorial the city was supposed to build? It’s been almost six years since the shooting. We built two Princess Meadow playgrounds in Coral Spring in under two years. Before we have discussion of a second memorial, I’d like to see the city build the memorial they had initially planned. Then we should discuss a second memorial."
We all worked hard to put this playground together to honor my daughter Meadow.
Her memory will live forever in the laughter of all the children that visit Princess Meadows’s Playground. pic.twitter.com/I9LI0YekpB
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) February 14, 2020
"I'm glad the building is finally coming down," Broward Commissioner and former Parkland Mayor Michael Udine told the Floridian. "In my opinion it has taken the building way too long. We are relived to see it coming down."
"Broward County Public Schools reached this decision in consultation with health and safety experts, and out of concern for the well-being of students and staff on campus," said Broward Schools in a statement. "As we continue to heal, we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community and will provide updates as information becomes available. We are thankful to the students, parents and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as well as the Parkland community for their patience and understanding."