PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz, alongside victims’ families, led U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly on a guided tour of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Monday.
The visitation provided federal officials with firsthand insights into the challenges faced by schools in ensuring the safety of students. The families of the victims who lost their lives on that fateful day will also accompany the delegation during this visit.
Cardona was seen touring the halls where bullet holes and broken glass remain, along with blood still stained on the the floor were 17 people tragically lost their lives.
“While walking with families through the building, I couldn’t help but ask God ‘What do you want of me here? What can I do with this experience to help protect students and families and educators?'” said Cardona.
The focus was on the 1200 building, the site of the tragic school shooting that occurred on February 14, 2018.
“There is nothing more sacred than protecting our children and our loved ones and our educators,” said Cardona. “I come here today to listen.”
During the tour, officials described every moment that happened during the shooting, which included descriptions of who was killed, when they were killed, and how they were killed.
Following the guided tour, Moskowitz, Cardona, Easterly, and the victims’ families engaged in round table discussion at the Marriott Hotel about how the federal government can support school safety and mental health.
“I see this visit, this walk-through today, through the lens of being the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency where we run the school safety task force in the Federal School Safety clearinghouse and schoolsafety.gov which all started out of this tragedy and would not be in place if not for the incredible leadership of this community and some of the heroics on that day and the days that followed.” said Easterly.
The group discussed the failures of that day and looked for answers on how the federal government can support schools and keep students safer.
“Never live in the past, but always learn from it and that’s what we are doing here today. That’s why Fred and I wanted to bring all the federal agencies together,” said Max Schachter, whose son was killed in the massacre.
“This is the opportunity from a federal stand point to finally start putting these pieces together and to drive the change that we need to stop the next one. Thank you for being here, I watched you throughout the day. I know you’re going to be forever changed as is everyone else whose been through that building and all that matters is what we do next,” said Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg who was killed in the massacre.
“Campuses have to be the place where we make sure we prevent evil, and I need everyone to understand that we are all responsible for making sure our campuses are safe,” said Broward Schools Superintendent Peter Licata.
The meeting was suppose to take place in the morning and early part of the afternoon, but it went well into the afternoon. Officials will travel back to Washington following the meeting as they aim to put the information they received into practice.
The 1200 building, where 17 lives were lost in 2018, has been preserved as evidence since the shooting. Plans are in motion to demolish the structure this summer.
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