Families of Mass Shooting Victims Discuss School Safety with Donald Trump

Scarlett Lewis holds up a photo of her son Jesse Lewis, who was killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting, during a meeting with President Donald Trump on the Federal Commission on School Safety report, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in Washington.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump spoke with family members of school shooting victims at the White House on Tuesday about preventing further shootings in the future.

“We are profoundly grateful to all of the families who are working with us to help prevent others from suffering the same terrible heartache and tragedy,” Trump said during a roundtable meeting with families and administration officials at the White House.
Carson Abt, a survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, was also present for the discussion.

Abt urged state and local governments to take seriously the recommendations in the report, rather than wait for additional shootings to take place.

She pointed to the success of new active shooter drills in schools, saying that the skills could help them in other emergency situations such as concert and movie theater venues.

“If you know what to do at a young age, it’s going to, unfortunately, be instinct by the time you are older,” she said. “While it is unfortunate, it will keep you safe.”

Other family members included Max Schachter, Ryan Petty, and Andy Pollack – three fathers of Parkland High School shooting victims – and JT Lewis and Scarlett Lewis, the brother and mother of a victim from the Sandy Hook shooting.

Pollack praised President Trump for forming the task force based on facts, instead of just a narrow focus on gun control.

“This is the most comprehensive report done after a school shooting ever by an administration that’s going to affect our quality of life for all students and teachers throughout this country,” he said.

Scarlet Lewis showed a picture of her six-year-old son Jesse, who was shot and killed at Sandy Hook after he stood up to the shooter and shouted for his classmates to run.

She thanked Trump for including their recommendations for proactive prevention and social-emotional learning in schools.

“This is the first administration to do that, and I want to thank you for your courage,” Lewis said.

Petty also praised the report for its comprehensive nature.

“My hope is that rather than fighting over the things we don’t like or we think we are missing, that as a nation we come forward on the things we agree on,” he said.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen vowed that the report would be implemented as soon as possible.

“This is a start. This will not sit on a bookshelf,” she said.

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