MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Families of the victims killed in the Parkland school shooting gathered in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, urging legislative leaders and the community to push for school safety reforms now.
“We want to get something passed that immediately addresses safety in the schools,” said Fred Guttenberg whose daughter, Jaime, died in the massacre. She was just 14-years-old.
The families at the event, unified amid grief and perseverance, said they are supporting measures Governor Rick Scott has proposed as a start to reforms.
They want a law that will keep guns out of the hands of disturbed people, provide more mental health services, and harden schools.
“We need layers, layers, and layers of security measures in these schools that will make them safer,” said Lori Alhadeff whose 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was murdered.
The parents as a group refused to oppose the Florida measure as now written, that would allow school teachers to be trained and carry weapons, and does not ban assault rifles.
“We accept the fact that right now it is the minimally acceptable effort that we can get passed in Florida,” said Gutenberg.
Linda Beigle, whose son, Scott, a geography teacher and track coach was killed, said she “100 percent” opposes teachers carrying guns and supports an assault weapon ban.
The parents were not the only ones pushing for reform. Earlier in the day, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz hosted a roundtable to discuss gun control.
Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) says it’s critical that the community come together to discuss solutions to gun violence after the shooting that left 14 children and 3 faculty members dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.
The roundtable, held at her office in Sunrise on Monday, brought together a task force of community leaders, school board members, cops, clergy and students calling for more gun control than is being considered in Tallahassee and given some lip service in Washington, D.C.
“We have to do something about guns. We have to ban semi-automatic assault rifles. We have to ban high-capacity magazines,” said Wasserman Schultz.
Among those saying #NeverAgain were students from Stoneman Douglas High.
“I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy. I had to hide behind desks and hold the hands of my classmates, shaking and praying, hearing the gunshots outside of my door,” said Meiling Hoshing, a junior at Stoneman Douglas High.
Megan Hobson was shot with an AK-47 and was nearly killed in a Hialeah drive-by six years ago. She too was at the roundtable.
“This is enough and we’re not going to have your simple excuses or simple solution that you think is solving our problem. That is not going to solve it and I think that it’s hard for us to stand here and not be angry,” said Hobson.
The young people and adults they’re pulling along with them are vowing to keep the Never Again movement going and going after elected leaders they believe are not leading.
City leaders who attended Monday’s roundtable included the mayors of Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Aventura, and Dania Beach.
Representatives of the Department of Children and Families, Moms Demand Action and League of Women Voters also attended the roundtable.
If you want to join in the conversation, click here to contact your Florida senators and representatives.