Families of 17 Victims in Parkland Shooting Respond to Administration’s School Safety Report

December 18, 2018 by TWN Staff
Students are evacuated by police out of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooting on February 14, 2018. (Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

Stand with Parkland President Tony Montalto on Tuesday sent a letter to President Trump in response to the long awaited report issued by the Administration’s Federal Commission on School Safety. Stand with Parkland, which represents all 17 families of the shooting victims in Parkland, is committed to advocating for practical public safety reforms focused on the safety of our children and staff at school, improved mental health support, and responsible firearms ownership.

“Americans must put aside our preconceived ideas and look at the current reality regarding all facets of school safety. We encourage everyone who has an interest in the safety of our nation’s students and staff members at school to read this report with an open mind. We must agree to come together from across the political spectrum as Americans – not Republicans or Democrats – if we have any hope of addressing this national epidemic in any meaningful and lasting way,” said Montalto.

Read the full letter here:

 

Dear Mr. President,

As the families of the 17 victims of the tragic shooting in Parkland this year, we want to thank you for your effort to shine a light on the issue of school safety. Parents should be able to send their children to schools free of violence, and the Federal Commission on School Safety has been thoughtful in its preparation of this report.

Americans must put aside our preconceived ideas and look at the current reality regarding all facets of school safety. We encourage everyone who has an interest in the safety of our nation’s students and staff members at school to read this report with an open mind. We must agree to come together from across the political spectrum as Americans – not Republicans or Democrats – if we have any hope of addressing this national epidemic in any meaningful and lasting way.

This report was created by many dedicated professionals and school safety experts, it involved input from several Federal departments including:

The Department of Education

The Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Justice

The Department of Homeland Security

Without a doubt it is one of the most comprehensive pieces on school safety ever put together by the Federal Government. We applaud the Trump administration for commissioning this report.

Stand with Parkland – The National Association of Families for Safe Schools does not endorse all the recommendations in the Federal Commission on School Safety report, but we believe the report is an important step in the proper direction toward improved school safety. Of note, the adoption of the “No Notoriety” fundamentals will also help discourage future assailants by not giving these murderers the media attention they crave. We endorse the recommendation for States to adopt Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) that include robust due process protections. In the States where ERPOs have been adopted, law enforcement has been able to use this tool to save lives. We must comment on one aspect of this report by stating our position that teachers should teach and security functions belong in the realm of dedicated school security personnel.

Stand with Parkland – The National Association of Families for Safe Schools believes that in order to address school safety in a meaningful fashion a holistic approach is needed.  Our mission has been to address these three fundamental components:

  1. Securing the school campus
  2. Better mental health programs
  3. Responsible firearms ownership

The report contains recommended changes that address the first two items in our holistic approach, but little is mentioned regarding firearms. It is clear that the status quo is ineffective or our loved ones would not have been shot and killed in their school on February 14th of this year. The President indicated at that time he was open to improvements in federal background checks for prospective firearms buyers.  This administration has a responsibility to address this issue and we look forward to working with you in the near future. The safety of our nation’s students and staff members at school is an issue that must addressed in a bi-partisan manner because it benefits all Americans.

We support the efforts of the Trump administration as it moves to implement the changes recommended by the Federal Commission on School Safety.  This is where many programs stall and eventually fail. In order to ensure a different result with this report Stand with Parkland – The National Association of Families for Safe Schools will be there, working at all levels of government, to help drive the changes needed in order to keep our nation’s children and staff members safe at school. We encourage all Americans to join us in that endeavor.

Thank you for making America’s schools safer part of your administration’s objectives.

Sincerely,

Tony Montalto

President

Stand with Parkland – The National Association of Families for Safe Schools

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