WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The parents of students killed in the Parkland school shooting joined lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday in support of a bipartisan school safety effort.
The plan includes requirements for silent panic alarms and funding for school resource officers.
With a picture of the child she lost hanging in a heart around her neck, Lori Alhadeff came to Capitol Hill to fight for change.
“I love you, Alyssa. And in your honor, you will be saving lives with this legislation,” Alhadeff said.
Lori’s daughter Alyssa was one of the students killed at the school shooting in Parkland five years ago. Max Schacter also lost his son Alex in that shooting.
“The failures of that day, it makes you angry. I became more focused and clear about what needs to happen to prevent the next Parkland,” Schacter said.
Both parents are advocating for two school safety bills. The first, Alyssa’s Act, would require every school to have silent panic alarms to alert first responders during a shooting. The second bill would provide more funding for school resource officers.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer says the legislation is just common sense.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to end gun violence and ensure our schools are safe,” Gottheimer said.
Both bills are bipartisan, giving them more of a chance to pass through a divided Congress. Congressman Tony Gonzalez says the measures could prevent heartbreaking tragedies like the Uvalde school shooting in his home district.
“You put aside the differences and you find a way to make sure our kids are safe,” Gonzalez said. “We can both protect the Constitution and we can protect our kids in school.”
While many Democrats also want more gun control, Congressman Jared Moskowitz says lawmakers need to find common ground.
“Every single thing we do can save a life and can have one more kid come home from school,” Moskowitz said.
The parents who know what it’s like to not have their kids come home are pleading lawmakers to act quickly.
“Don’t sit idly by until the next tragic. School shooting,” Alhadeff said.
“Safety has to come before education because you cannot teach dead kids,” Schachter said.