FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Parkland, FL – Today “Stand with Parkland, The National Association of Families for Safe Schools,” calls for change in Broward County, Florida, citing poor performance of the School Board of Broward County. You have an opportunity to help change this. Please come out and vote on August 28th. We ask everyone concerned about the safety and security of our county’s schools to vote for new School Board representation that will be more concerned about the safety of the students and teachers in Broward County schools.

The following statement is delivered on behalf of Tony Montalto, father of Gina Montalto and President of Stand with Parkland.

“Good afternoon I am Tony Montalto, President of Stand with Parkland, a bipartisan advocacy group of families for safer schools formed by the 17 families of the deceased victims from the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. After this tragedy members from our group and the entire MSD community have attempted to work with the Broward County School Board and the Superintendent to make things better. We have focused on issues but the school board has not provided answers. So today we would like make the citizens of Broward County aware that the current School Board has failed to properly prepare the county’s 234 schools for the upcoming school year which begins next week. The constant reversals of policy positions continue to leave our county’s students and teachers at risk and shows there is no unified plan to keep them safe. “The modern plague of mass shootings in America’s schools caused school districts, administrators and law enforcement officials across the country to carefully study the lessons of tragedies like Columbine and Sandy Hook. Many acted quickly to protect the lives of students and teachers. This includes our neighbors in Miami-Dade where school safety plans were made and completed. In Broward County there has been no such action. In 2014 the Broward County School Board and Superintendent put a school bond to the voters of Broward, in the name of better security for the county’s schools. They have been promising all of our schools will have a single point of entry. To date some 40% of the county’s schools lack this basic security feature.

“Additionally, the current Broward County School Board has yet to conduct a full internal investigation into its own policies and procedures that may need to be adjusted on a county wide basis as a result of the MSD tragedy. In July, nearly 5 months after the mass shooting that took the lives of our children and spouses, they hired an outside consultant for an independent investigation. Only to then terminate the investigation and fire the consultant just one week later. We are forced to ask “How can they fix the deficient policies if they don’t know what failed?” Delays and subsequent changes by the School Board leave students and teachers across Broward County in danger as they begin the 2018 – 2019 school year.

“Yet another example of the School Board’s flawed planning, occurred on April 10th. We watched the Board vote down the use of the Aaron Feis Guardian Program to supplement the SRO ranks. They had no alternate plan to comply with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act. Then, once they were taken to task by commissioners on the MSD panel meeting in this building in June, they reversed course and decided to implement the program in the hope of being able to comply with state law. A last-minute scramble, 6 scant weeks before school begins, is not the best way to keep students and teachers safe. We believe they deserve better.

“As you can see these failures affect every teacher and child in Broward County schools. You have an opportunity to help change this. Please come out and vote on August 28th. We ask everyone concerned about the safety and security of our county’s schools to vote for new School Board representation that will be more concerned about the safety of the students and teachers in Broward County schools. Thank You.” 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 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. For interview requests and media availability, please contact Sean Trambley at strambley@granite-is.com or