EGHS alum visits alma mater to discuss latest book about Parkland shooting


Photo courtesy of Cavazos.

Katlyn Schwarz, Staff Reporter

During the end of a question-and-answer session at the end of a presentation, author and Elk Grove High School alum Dave Cullen was asked what had made him want to write a book about the events of the Stoneman-Douglas High School shooting of 2018.

His answer: Those students “buried their friends and then went to the community to do something about it.”

On Friday, Feb. 22 during periods seven and eight, students had the opportunity to sit in on a book talk with Cullen. His book titled “Parkland: Birth of a Movement,” released exactly a year after the shooting on February 14, is unlike his previously released book “Columbine,” as “Parkland” follows not how the event took place, but what survivors are doing to make sure that something like this never happens again.

Cullen has written three books total, his most notable being “Columbine.” Written about the Colorado school shooting, “Columbine” gave readers an in-depth examination of how two shooters claimed the lives of 15 people, including themselves.

Throughout the 2018 school year, students all across the country participated in school walkouts meant to make students’ voices heard and make the government come to the conclusion that this problem, having such easy access to mass weapons of destruction, needed to come to an end.

After reporting on the Columbine shooting in 1999, Cullen said he had suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, so writing the book based off of the massacre had only made him relive the events. This time with his Parkland novel, Cullen said he was able to relive all of the actions that students and staff have taken to make a change for schools across the country.

“Six days after they escaped their high school, they had three big buses rented with 100 kids going to the state capital to meet with their officials and their governor,” Cullen said to the audience regarding the MSDHS students’ actions. “I was surprised that everyone had been kind of dressed up, and when I asked why, most of them had just come from a funeral. And a lot of them had come from two back-to-back funerals.”

Cullen’s talk to students highlighted that although the Parkland students had been through so much pain during the tragedy — including the losses of their friends and feeling safe in their own school — they got up not even a day after funerals for victims who had been shot had been held. They had taken their grief and turned it into a movement.

In Cullen’s most recent release, he goes into how those Stoneman Douglas students did just that and more.