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Parents of children killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High gathered in front of the school Monday afternoon to beseech Florida legislators to pass “common sense” laws to make schools safer, including more mental health resources and funding for more secure schools.
The appeal came as Tallahassee lawmakers debated the state’s response to Florida’s worst-ever school shooting.
Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina Petty was killed, read a statement declaring that the parents are unified in pushing for safer schools.
Petty said the parents want the Legislature to take action, ticking off these priorities: Number one, enhance the safety and security at schools. Number two, keep guns away from those who pose a risk to themselves or others, and number three, improve access to mental health resources for at-risk youths.
He said these are measures that Gov. Rick Scott has advocated since the mass shooting.
Petty also thanked community for support.
“Please know that the incredible support is deeply appreciated and has made a lasting impact on our lives,” he said.
Students who survived the Valentines Day rampage that left 14 students and three adults dead have staunchly advocated that lawmakers at the state and national level take decisive action. In full-throated fashion, including during a Town Hall sponsored by CNN, they have offered a range of proposals, from raising from 18 to 21 the legal age for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle like the one used by shooter Nikolas Cruz to banning the guns outright.
They have traveled to both Tallahassee and Washington D.C. to lobby lawmakers and President Donald Trump.
The president seemed sympathetic to their cause during the meeting with student survivors and parents of those who died.
“Our message is simple, we must be the last families to lose a loved one to mass murder in a school,” Petty said. “This time must be different and we demand action.”