Today, the families of the victims of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL spoke out in response to reports that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is considering allowing states to use federal funding to arm schoolteachers. The following statement can be attributed to Tony Montalto, President of Stand with Parkland and father of Gina Montalto.

"Using federal funds to arm teachers is a misguided idea that undermines real efforts to safeguard our schools against mass shootings like the one that took our loved ones at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. We should let our teachers, teach and our nation should look to hire trained law enforcement or school security officers to protect our students and staff at school. We must make securing the safety of our schools a national priority. America’s children deserve nothing less.

“It is time the President and the members of Congress uphold the commitments made to take real action to combat violence in our schools. Empty promises are not enough. We need action.

“For the sake our children Americans must demand that our elected officials reach across party lines and come together to secure our schools, ensure students have access to the mental health programs they need, and ensure responsible firearm ownership through practical reforms such as universal background checks.

"As the families who lost our loved ones in the massacre in Parkland, we intend to hold the President and our representatives in Congress accountable for their inaction on this American epidemic."

Stand with Parkland is a national organization representing American families. We are committed to advocating for practical public safety reforms focused on the safety of our children and staff at school, improved mental health support, and responsible firearms ownership. Personal responsibility and a desire for change are paramount to this effort, and it is the people involved at all levels that will make these goals a reality. Violence in our schools affects everyone. It is an American epidemic, and it is time that we all come together to do something about it.

Stand With Parkland’s families are committed to firearm safety and achieving concrete results at the federal, state, and local level. More information is available at www.standwithparkland.org.