STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

This wounded Parkland student won't return to her high school. But she'll still get her diploma

Samantha Fuentes walks with a cane after a bullet pierced her thigh and shrapnel hit her legs and face during the dea...

Posted: Feb 28, 2018 5:20 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2018 5:20 PM

Samantha Fuentes walks with a cane after a bullet pierced her thigh and shrapnel hit her legs and face during the deadly shooting at South Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

But her injuries aren't the reason she says she won't finish her senior year there.

As her schoolmates returned Wednesday for the first day of classes since the February 14 massacre, she did not. She's withdrawing from the school -- just months from graduation -- intending instead to complete her diploma with online courses.

All things weighed, she can't see the point of going back.

"I want to be a part of Stoneman Douglas and I want to live out the rest of my high school career normally. But there's no such thing as normal anymore," she told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on Wednesday morning, just off school grounds in Parkland.

"Curriculum is never going to resume as normal for the rest of the year."

She says the shooting, which left 17 dead, has given her a new purpose: Advocating for tighter school security and gun control.

"As I'm recovering and taking my online courses, that's when I'd like to take the chance to travel, and speak to large audiences, spread my message, speak to lawmakers, attend rallies, be everywhere I need to be so that people can hear me clearly," she said.

For security, she wants "simple mechanisms we've had for ages, like bulletproof windows and metal detectors, and live-footage security cameras" feeding video to the sheriff's department, and more security officers on school grounds.

She'd also like a ban on assault-style weapons, stronger background checks for gun buyers, and raising the minimum age for buyers to 21.

But she'll make her speeches as a former Stoneman Douglas student. And she'll be carrying scars with her.

The shrapnel lodged behind her cheek and eye, she said, will not be taken out. "To remove them would be more invasive than to leave them," Fuentes said, appearing on camera with a large, dark purple welt under her right eye.

She has already been accepted to some colleges, but she has yet to pick one. She says she's not worried about explaining why she's withdrawing from Stoneman Douglas.

"I think they're aware," she said.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 91°
Florence
Scattered Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 89°
Fayetteville
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 88°
Decatur
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 89°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 93°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 89927

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11650225
Mobile8998191
Montgomery6198143
Madison493225
Tuscaloosa391263
Baldwin317522
Shelby300232
Marshall294730
Unassigned263351
Lee249140
Morgan220615
Etowah191425
DeKalb167713
Elmore158437
Calhoun15359
Walker145763
Houston130912
Dallas128023
Russell12201
Franklin118420
Limestone118313
St. Clair118212
Cullman111311
Colbert107612
Lauderdale105312
Autauga101020
Escambia96515
Talladega89013
Jackson8163
Chambers81438
Tallapoosa80478
Dale77619
Butler75135
Blount7223
Covington70420
Coffee7035
Chilton6976
Pike6547
Barbour5625
Lowndes54624
Marion53524
Marengo51514
Clarke4849
Hale44925
Bullock43711
Perry4284
Winston42811
Wilcox4029
Monroe3884
Randolph38810
Conecuh37110
Bibb3643
Pickens3639
Sumter36118
Washington31011
Macon30813
Lawrence3060
Crenshaw2843
Choctaw27312
Henry2433
Greene24011
Cherokee2337
Geneva2260
Clay2165
Lamar1942
Fayette1695
Cleburne1141
Coosa902
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 109627

Reported Deaths: 1073
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby21296285
Davidson19320199
Rutherford604251
Hamilton562147
Knox392634
Williamson323022
Sumner316069
Unassigned29244
Out of TN282312
Wilson206420
Montgomery171111
Bradley170510
Sevier17025
Trousdale15726
Putnam154713
Robertson143216
Hamblen121713
Tipton11049
Blount10987
Maury10665
Washington10382
Madison88912
Bedford86210
Macon83413
Hardeman79411
Sullivan7809
Lake7440
Bledsoe6681
Loudon6493
Fayette6178
Anderson5995
Dickson5871
Gibson5582
Cheatham5445
Dyer5427
Rhea4971
Jefferson4892
McMinn47920
Lawrence4746
Obion4274
Henderson4260
Carter4245
Lauderdale4216
Coffee4112
Warren4004
Hardin3987
Cocke3911
Cumberland3756
Greene3695
Haywood3695
Smith3613
Monroe3569
Roane3561
Giles3449
Hawkins3244
McNairy3105
DeKalb3041
Franklin2854
Marshall2632
Weakley2603
Lincoln2511
Carroll2263
Hickman2260
Crockett2233
Wayne2141
Claiborne2120
Henry2110
Campbell2071
Marion2064
Chester1921
White1913
Grainger1680
Polk1661
Johnson1600
Decatur1591
Unicoi1360
Overton1341
Union1180
Cannon1170
Jackson1071
Grundy1012
Humphreys1013
Scott1010
Meigs960
Sequatchie940
Benton921
Morgan791
Fentress740
Hancock741
Perry740
Stewart700
Clay620
Lewis561
Houston550
Moore420
Van Buren320
Pickett221

 

 

Community Events