WASHINGTON D.C. (WSAV) – Parents who lost their children in mass shootings were on Capitol Hill yesterday urging lawmakers to come up with a plan to keep students safe on school campuses across the country.
Activists with Stand with Parkland spoke to a panel of senators during a hearing Thursday. The group is made up of loved ones of the victims killed in the deadly Majory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
Tom Hoyer, an activist who lost his son in the massacre, shared a testimony about his son’s death before addressing the effects the shooting had on the Parkland community.
“The murder of our beloved spouses and children at school were devastating,” Hoyer said. “Our families are forever changed, our community is forever changed. The trauma of that day haunts all the survivors, the students, the teachers and first responders.”
Max Schachter also lost his son in the shooting. He has been around the country working and learning about school safety. Schachter said he saw school principals across the country trying to learn and do as much as they can to keep their individual schools safe.
“It made no sense to me that each school has to go and reinvent the wheel,” Schachter said. “The idea that crystallized for me was the need to invent national school safety best practices at the federal level.”
Hoyed stated that their personal experience has led them to understand that there is no single solution to this issue, so Stand with Parkland is advocating for three key goals:
- Securing school campuses
- Improving mental health screenings and support programs in schools
- Responsible firearm ownership
Schachter stated that he was pleased to see a similar idea highlighted in President Trump’s Federal Commission on School Safety Report last year and is encouraged to hear that the Department of Homeland Security will meet to discuss this idea next week.