Parkland, FL – The father of a girl who was murdered during the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said that parents who don’t want their children to attend schools where teachers are trained and armed to protect students always have the option of sending their kids to a different school.
“This is America, and...you have the choice to go to any school you want,” Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was murdered in the attack, told CNN. “If you don’t want a teacher, or a marshal, or you don’t want someone with a gun at your school, you go to a gun-free school zone. That’s where you go. You take your kid, and you go to a school that has gun-free zone, and you take them there.”
Pollack was in attendance at President Donald Trump’s Feb. 21 meeting at the White House, during which the president suggested the idea of arming school staff.
"If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly," Trump said at the gathering, according to CNN. “This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be...concealed carry...They’d go for special training.”
The concept of arming school personnel has become increasingly controversial in the wake of the Florida school shooting, and has caused passionate responses from both sides of the argument.
"I'm pissed,” Pollack told Trump during the meeting. “It was my daughter I am not going to see again. She is not here. She is not here. She is in North Lauderdale at...King David Cemetery. That is where I go to see my kid now."
“It’s simple. Let’s fix it,” he told the president.
The Florida State Legislature recently advanced bills that would devote $67 million to help train teachers and school staff members to carry concealed weapons as school marshals, the Huffington Post reported.
The program would be voluntary, and those who opted to participate would be specifically trained to help protect students, Pollack told CNN.
“The parent that wants to go to a school where there’s a marshal, or there’s a police presence, they send their kid there,” he said, adding that parents who disagreed would have the option to go to gun-free schools.
Despite his loss, Pollack said he has heard Meadow’s voice in his head, calling him “Daddy,” and that it made him feel “empowered to do what I have to do,” to protect children.
“When someone murders your kid...you just get a certain power...I can do anything,” he said.