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Parkland teacher's mom makes heart-wrenching plea to visit late son's classroom 'untouched' since shooting | The Sun

THE pain has never gone away for Linda Beigel Schulman, who lost her son Scott in the Parkland shooting in 2018.

It's five years to the day Scott Beigel, a geography teacher and cross-country coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was murdered along with 16 other defenseless victims in Parkland, Florida, by deranged former pupil Nikolas Cruz.

Ever since that horrendous day on February 14, 2018, multiple foundations have been created, awareness into the horrors of gun violence has risen, and the memories remain as vivid as ever, yet the heartache is constant.

Even with the shooter – Beigel Schulman will never say his name aloud – rotting in a prison cell after receiving multiple life sentences without parole, the tragedy forever lives inside everyone affected.

For Beigel Schulman, whose daughter's birthday falls on the very day that saw her son gunned down in cold blood, there will never be closure, although a glimmer of hope on the horizon could help some light pierce the darkness.

The building at Stoneman Douglas where the atrocity took place remains intact, frozen in time.

The prosecution of former Broward Police Deputy Scot Peterson is ongoing and, as the site remains a crime scene, nothing has changed.

Scott's classroom is exactly how he left it.

"I want to go to his desk. I want to get Scott's things," an emotional Beigel Schulman told The U.S. Sun.

"It's exactly the way it was. It's air-conditioned. Nothing has been touched, the jurors went through the building. There are blood stains, Valentine's cards that kids were going to give. Everything's the way it was.

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"We have to wait until the other trial is finished, but I know that they'll let us go in."

That will be an agonizing walk through the corridors for a woman who, along with the 16 other families affected in one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history, has already been through so much.

Her forceful speech at the sentencing last year was a tear-jerking proclamation from the heart, despite admitting the pain of reliving her son's death at the trial.

"I think that it took a toll on all of our families, but I can speak for myself and I can speak for my husband," she admitted. "There's no way we are the same today as we were on July 18, before the trial started, it's really different."

There has been a horrible spate of shootings already in 2023 and Beigel Schulman, who has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and help people deal with the aftermath of gun violence, knows the toll it can take.

"I know that right after an incident like that and you lose your loved one, everybody's there for you, whether they're bringing you food or to comfort you," she said.

"But then one day, you wake up one morning, and reality hits because now, nobody's there, the funeral's over, and nobody's bringing food.

"Now, you have to do it on your own."

Beigel Schulman, who lives in Long Island, New York, just wants common sense when it comes to gun control.

"I do not advocate for taking away people's guns, you're entitled to own a gun. I just want you to have a background check, own it legally, store it safely, and be safe," she said.

"When you go to the doctor, and you fill out a sheet for the first time, you have to answer a bunch of questions. Do you smoke? Do you do this or that?

"Do you own a gun? Is there a gun in the house? Do you store it safely? It's the same thing as if you say to somebody: 'Do you smoke?'

"We want to make the country aware that it's very important that if you do own a gun, that you own it legally.

"What do you own that doesn't have a serial number? Your computer, your camera, your car, your TV on the wall. Why should a gun not have a serial number?

"People ask me how I'm doing. The murder of my son has literally lit a flame inside of me to get something done.

"Since the very beginning, it's all in honor of Scott and his legacy.

"It has really taken my soul to make sure that nobody ever has to go through what I went through."

The Red Flag rule – a gun violence prevention law that permits a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person whom they believe may present a danger to others or themselves – was first introduced in Connecticut in 1999.

Yet, it arrived in South Florida, and other states, far too late.

"If they had the ruling on the 13th of February in 2018, you would not have had a mass shooting the next day, and that's just a fact," she stressed.

Last October, Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the shooting, which saw 14 students and three members of the school's staff killed. The injury toll reached 17.

Cruz received a life sentence for each of the 34 counts read by the judge, but avoided the death penalty after a jury recommended life in prison with no parole– a decision that divided opinion.

Beigel Schulman, however, is at peace with it.

"It was the perfect death-penalty case," she said.

"The state's attorneys explained everything to us, especially in the beginning when we didn't understand why it was so important to go for the death penalty.

"But if he did get the death penalty, it could be 18 years (before he was killed).

"In that time, he would have been able to probably have a TV, it would have been a lot nicer.

"But now, I know for a fact, he's in a cell by himself. The cell is very small and disgusting because he's in a very old facility.

"He's got a commode, a sink, and a bed. I believe they took away his sheets when he walked in there, that's not what he was expecting.

"He came from Broward Jail, which was a hotel compared to where he would end up and every day going into the courtroom and being able to sit there.

"I know that three times a week, he can shower with a guard. And a couple of times, he's out by himself in the yard.

"He is in living hell, he wishes he had the death penalty. As far as I'm concerned, this is way better. He's in torture mode, the way he tortured the 17 people he killed.

"And as soon as he goes into general population, he has to look over his shoulder. I have a piece of paper that I wrote a note about what I learned of where he is.

"When I happen to open that drawer in my office every day, I see it and honestly, I feel a little bit better because he's living in hell. And we are all living in hell.

"He put us through hell, and he needs to live in it."

The Scott J. Beigel Memorial fund was created in honor of Scott and has been a huge success in helping children who have been affected by gun violence.

Seven different summer camps will receive more than 400 kids in 2023, with the numbers growing every year.

A 5k and 10k race – Run 4 Beigel – has become an annual event and takes place again on March 5 with hundreds expected to attend events, both in Florida and his native New York.

Beigel Schulman still keeps in touch with many of her son's students and those he helped save so selflessly with such majestic heroism.

"I love my son," she concluded.

"I love hearing stories about him. People say 'I have a story, I hope it doesn't make you upset'. I always say 'no, I love hearing stories about Scott.'

"I love getting photos from people. When he went to camp, I have the photo they sent me from when he was seven.

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"There's nothing sad about Scott, except that I can't hug him and I can't see him.

"But he's always here."

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