Father of Florida victim makes emotional plea to Trump over school shootings: ‘How many children have to get shot?'

As Donald Trump listens, father says America has 'failed our children'

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Thursday 22 February 2018 00:18 GMT
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Father of Florida victim: 'We, as a country, failed our children'

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Louise Thomas

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The father of a girl slain during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has challenged politicians to make schools safer, saying during a meeting with Donald Trump that “we as a country failed our children”.

“We go the airport, I can’t get on a plane with a bottle of water, but…some animal can walk into a school and shoot our children,” Andrew Pollack said during a White House meeting attended by students, teachers and families affected by school shootings.

“I’m very angry that this happened because it keeps happening,” Mr Pollack continued. “...How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here.”

Meadow Pollack was one of 17 students and teachers who died when a gunman opened fire at the Parkland, Florida school last week. She was 18.

While students and teachers who survived the Florida shooting have vociferously called for new gun control measures, Mr Pollack said “it’s not about gun laws right now”, urging instead a focus on “school safety”.

“I’m never going to see my kid again,” Mr Pollack said. “I want you all to know that. Never, ever will I see my kid - I want it to sink in. It’s eternity”.

The President nodded and flashed a thumbs-up when Mr Pollack addressed him directly, saying “Mr President, we’re going to fix it”.

In the aftermath of last week’s shooting, Mr Trump has signed a directive to ban the sale of a device called a “bump stock” that enables more rapid firing and has said he is open to tightening background checks for gun purchases.

On the state level, Florida legislators rejected an effort to ban assault weapons as student survivors looked on. A top Republican has advocated measures to raise the age to buy assault rifles and to allow law enforcement to confiscate guns from people deemed to be dangerous.

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