During a listening session at the White House on Wednesday, a man whose daughter died in last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school gave an enraged speech, telling President Donald Trump that “we as a country failed our children.”
At the meeting, Trump greeted the students with a series of platitudes, vowing to be “very strong on background checks” and “very strong” on tackling mental health issues. He vaguely referred to also being strong on “other things,” but he did not specify. He also proposed arming teachers as a solution to school shootings.
then he got an earful from both parents and students:
One 15-year-old Parkland survivor named Justin grew emotional as he spoke, telling the president “there needs to be a significant change in this country.”
“People should feel safe. Parents shouldn’t have to go through losing a child,” said Justin, who did not provide his last name during the event.
Another Parkland survivor told the president she is worried “everyone is so stuck on what they believe” that changes will not be possible. Any “solution is not going to be a singular thing. It will be multifaceted,” she told Trump.
“This is not just Parkland anymore,” the girl said. “This is everywhere.”
“These deaths are preventable,” said one parent who lost a six-year-old in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in in Newtown, Connecticut. “You have an opportunity to … save lives today. Please don’t waste this.”
Then, the father of one of the Parkland victims took the microphone to speak on behalf of his daughter “because she doesn’t have a voice.”
Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow Pollack was shot nine times by alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz, said he wouldn’t rest until students are protected from future shootings.
“My daughter has no voice. She was murdered last week, shot nine times on the third floor,” Pollack said. “This shouldn’t happen. We go to the airport, I can’t get on the plane with a bottle of water, but we leave some animal to walk into a classroom and shoot.”
“One school shooting and we all should’ve fixed it. And I’m pissed because my daughter I’m not going to see again. She’s not here,” he said.
“I’m not going to sleep until it’s fixed,” he said, adding his sons had to “bury their sister.” He urged everyone in the room to focus on school safety now, saying gun control is a bigger issue for another day.