Marco Rubio Takes to Senate Floor to Remember the Four-Year Anniversary of Parkland School Shooting

This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., spoke on the Senate floor ahead of the four-year anniversary of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Following his remarks, Rubio and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., asked for unanimous consent to pass their resolution to honor the victims and survivors, express gratitude to the emergency medical and health care professionals who responded and cared for the victims, as well as recognize the strength and resilience of the Parkland community. The resolution passed the full Senate unanimously.

Rubio said the following:

Rubio: It’s hard to forget the 14th of February of the year 2018. I was actually here in the U.S. Senate when news reports began to emerge that there had been a shooting at a school in South Florida, where I live. At the time, all four of my kids were in school in South Florida. As a parent, the first thing that flashes in your mind is, ‘Where and which school was it?’ Fortunately, we were blessed by God’s grace that it was not any of the schools that my children were in.

Sadly, there were other Floridians on that day who were impacted in ways that will clearly forever change their lives, but I think has also impacted the nation.

It is now well known what happened on that terrible day. The complete horror that shocked the nation.

Today, we stop and remember those who lost their lives on that day and those whose bravery saved lives on that day. We’ve learned much since that day about the things that went wrong with law enforcement, the FBI, local authorities, the school district, and that work continues. The monster who committed this act is now facing the justice of the Florida court system and will soon be sentenced.

I wanted to spend the brief time we had to talk about it here today to focus on what has happened since that day. In particular, the extraordinary work of some of the parents of those children who lost their lives on that tragic day, because they’ve turned their pain into activism in ways that have had concrete and meaningful impact.

One, in particular, is Max Schachter and his family, who, as they dove into this, realized that there was no place where school districts could go and learn about the best practices for how to safeguard a school, or any facility for that matter.

Everyone was off doing their own thing, being pitched contracts and ideas by different companies who said, ‘We can add this, we can give you that.’ But there didn’t seem to be a single place where you could go and learn the best practices to ensure the safety of our students.

And that began to change because of his work.

He lost his son, Alex, on that day. But from that pain, he has become the national leader on the issue of a federal clearinghouse, which now exists. The previous administration, the Trump Administration, took executive action on it, and today there exists a clearinghouse that, I hope, we can put into statute, through the Luke and Alex School Safety Act, to make it permanent.

And it has become a resource for schools across the country [that] are now able to, on an ongoing, real time basis, see whether what they have in place is the highest standard and the most effective. And every time there are improvements, it’s updated.

And it’s had a meaningful impact. There are schools across this country that have vulnerabilities they didn’t recognize. And those vulnerabilities aren’t just about physical hardening of buildings, and so forth. It’s about identifying and getting ahead of these problems.

Sadly, what we learned from many of these tragedies is that well before that day, there are clear signs that something is about to happen.

I think one of the things that most struck me is that multiple families told me that as soon as the news came out that this had happened, everyone knew who [the shooter] was, without even having heard the name. Everyone knew who did it because the signs had been there, and yet they had been missed.

The ability of school districts to now recognize those signs and get ahead of them is just one of the many innovations that are now in place because of the work of Max and his family in honor of their son, Alex, and of all those who suffered greatly on that day.

And so I think it’s important, not just to remember the extraordinary pain, the horrific events of that day, but also to remember how these brave American families have, since that day, taken their pain and turned it into action.

And that today, across this country, many of our schools are better positioned to prevent this from ever happening to anyone else because of what they’ve done with this tragedy.

And I wanted to take this moment today to commemorate [what these families have done] and recognize their hard work, and the work they and other families are doing, not simply to raise awareness, but to spur real concrete action that makes a meaningful difference.

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