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Published on Feb 13, 2019
Heather Martin knows what she will be doing on Valentine's Day, the one year anniversary of the shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She will be texting and calling some of the students who survived, to let them know she’s thinking of them.
Martin understands what they’re going through. She was a senior at Colorado’s Columbine High School two decades ago when two students shot and killed 12 students and a teacher. She survived by hiding in a small office with dozens of others.
It took years for Martin to come to grips with what she’d been through. After the 2012 shooting in an Aurora, Colo., theater, she and another Columbine survivor started The Rebels Project, a support group for victims of mass shootings.
Martin, who works in Aurora as a high school English teacher, says survivors share some common reactions to their trauma - anger, guilt, even embarrassment. She told Education Week, “I want survivors to know that it gets better and better.”
And she has advice for Parkland students and educators who will now be marking their first anniversary. “Don’t be hard on yourself,” says Martin, “Whatever you decide to do that day, that’s right for you in the moment.”