Parents of Parkland shooting victims among those running for Broward School Board

PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Not long after the first day of class is the election to pick a school board. Parents of both shooting victims and survivors are stepping up to turn their pain into purpose and are running for a seat. 7’s Andrew Scheinthal has a look at the candidates.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has motivated more than the students who have taken the tragedy and turned it into action. Parents and teachers are doing the same, with several running for the Broward County School Board.

Tennille Doe-Decoste’s son is a student at Stoneman Douglas and survived the shooting. Now running for the District 4 seat, she believes the responsibility of the school board should reach beyond Parkland.

Tennille Doe-Decoste: “I know what questions to ask. I’m not just going to focus on safety. We have to focus on mental health. We have to focus on teacher’s pay. We have to make sure our students are reading at a proficient level by third grade.”

Lori Alhadeff lost her daughter Alyssa during the shooting. She’s focusing her pain and grief towards making sure students are protected in the classroom.

Lori Alhadeff: “I do not want any other parents to go through the pain and anguish I go through everyday.”

Running for that same seat is Michael Kottler. His motivation: the unfair way he believes he and his family were treated by the district when his son suffered a concussion at football practice.

Michael Kottler: “I want to do what’s right. If a parent has something to say, I want them to be heard and not just given three minutes and brushed to the side and forgotten about.”

Ryan Petty lost his daughter Alaina during the Feb. 14 shooting, and now, he’s decided to run for the county at large seat against incumbent Donna Korn.

Ryan Petty: “So I can have a seat at the table, so I can represent parents all over the district who deserve to have their children come home to them every afternoon.”

For Korn, it’s all about the students’ success.

Donna Korn: “I need to make sure that we are giving them the best education possible and they can meet their highest potential. That’s why I did this to begin with. That’s what I’ve done everyday for eight years, so it isn’t a matter of running against someone, it’s really a matter of running for something.”

The youngest candidate is Elijah Manley. Only 19 years old, he hopes to unseat Korn and shake things up.

Elijah Manley: “We’re stepping up because it’s our future. That’s pretty much the only reason. The demographics of this country is changing rapidly. Millennials and centennials are about to be the largest voting block in this country. It’s about time our government reflects that.”

Richard Mendelson used to teach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and lost his friend in the shooting: Coach Aaron Feis. Now he’s running against incumbent Laurie Rich Levinson for the District 6 seat.

Richard Mendelson: “I’m not content to sit back and take no action. I feel that things need to change and with my professional experience, my life experience and the skill set I have in terms of my work, I feel like I can be a positive agent of change for this district.”

Levinson believes the district is on the right path and wants to continue the work she started eight years ago.

Levinson: “We have more opportunities for our students across the board, and academically, we are moving in a positive trajectory and would like to continue doing that.”

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