'There Will Always Be That Empty Desk': Stoneman Douglas High Students Return to School

Just a fortnight after their school saw one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history, students have returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, attempting to resume their education despite the raw wounds of two weeks ago.

"Imagine getting in a plane crash and having to get back on the same plane again and again and again and being expected to learn and act like nothing's wrong," David Hogg, a senior, told NBC News.

Classes opened Wednesday with a heavy police presence felt, as the Parkland school continues to struggle with losing their classmates and staff members. Resumption of where they left off on the February 14 shooting—which took place in 4th period—was done so that students and teachers could reunite with those there when the shooting happened.

The absence of any legislative reform makes 17-year-old Hogg disgusted. "Literally nothing's changed except that 17 people are dead," he said.

"The one fear I do have is having to come to terms with the fact that there will always be that empty desk because our friends are no longer alive," Carmen Lo, who lost her close friend Carmen Schentrup in the shooting, told ABC News. "However, we want the world to know that we will not let this event break us and we will come back stronger. We will not tolerate inaction because students should not need to be afraid to attend school."

On Monday, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said "our teachers indicated last week they would like to get back as soon as possible."

Staff members returned to the site on Friday for the first time since the attack.

"They wanted to be with their colleagues and the students they love," Runcie said of the resumption of classes.

The remainder of the week will have a shortened schedule. Two or more armed student resource officers would be at Marjory Stoneman Douglas until the end of the school year and safety will be a top priority, Runcie said.

While its survivors have become harsh critics of Capitol Hill, their voices have pushed the national conversation on gun action as students all across the U.S. have united in solidarity.

A week after the deadly shooting, rallies sprung up in schools from California to Florida, voicing frustration over the lack of change in legislature chambers.

Parkland students, many of whom witnessed the deadly shooting, traveled 450 miles to Florida's state capital as they pushed lawmakers for reform. Their efforts fell as elected officials rejected a ban on semiautomatic guns and large capacity magazines a few hours later. But it hasn't stopped them as they continue to use what happened in their school halls as a platform for change.