[Watch video after extended article]
“My daughter is in King David cemetery,” Pollack said at the White House session convened by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “Never, ever will I see my kid, it’s an eternity.”
Pollack, surrounded by his three sons, vowed to work with Trump to stop school shootings. “How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here, with this administration and me.”
Meadow Pollack was 18, and a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire last week on his former classmates.
The White House event gathered victims of a number of school shootings over the last 20 years, and Trump canvassed those present for ideas on how to stop school shootings.
[Watch video after extended article]
Pollack called for increased security at schools, noting that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks triggered immediate enhanced protections for airliners, while a succession fo school shootings have left schools vulnerable. He advised against litigating gun laws, for now, saying the issue was too divisive.
“It’s not about gun laws right now — that’s another fight, another battle,” Pollack said.
Others did counsel changes in gun laws, most forcefully, Sam Zeif, a Jewish senior at the school whose text exchanges with his younger brother while both were under siege went viral.
“These are not weapons of defense, these are weapons of war,” said Zeif, 18, who wept intermittently during the session. I still can’t fathom that I myself am able to purchase one.”
Trump wondered aloud whether arming teachers was a solution — many of those present disagreed in a show of hands — and vowed to enhance background checks for gun purchasers.
“We are going to go very strongly into age of purchase and we’re also going to go very strongly into mental health,” Trump said.
Darrell Scott, whose daughter, Rachel, was slain during the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, said an example American schools should emulate is having a single secured entrance.
“In Israel, they have one entry point and it’s very well guarded,” Scott said, noting that he speaks frequently at schools and easily enters and exits. “We have really soft entry points into schools.”
Andrew Pollack’s full statement to President Trump
I’m here because my daughter has no voice. She was murdered last week and she was taken from us. Shot nine times on the third floor. We as a country failed our children. This shouldn’t happen. We go to the airport, I can’t get on a plane with a bottle of water, but we leave some animal to walk into a school and shoot our children. It is just not right.
And we need to come together as a country and work on what is important. And that is protecting our children in the schools. That is the only thing that matters right now. Everyone has to come together and not think about different laws. We need to come together as a country, not different parties, and figure out how we protect the schools.
It is simple. It is not difficult. We protect airports. We protect concerts. Stadiums. Embassies. The Department of Education that I walked into today has a security guard in the elevator. How do you think that makes me feel? In the elevator they got a security guard.
I’m very angry that this happened. Because it keeps happening. 9/11 happened once. And they fix everything. How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I’m not going to sleep until it is fixed.
And Mr. President, we’ll fix it. Because I’m going to fix it. I’m not going to rest. And my boys need to live with this. I want to see everyone. You, you look at this. Me, I’m — I’m a man, but to see your children go through this, bury their sister. That’s what I keep saying because I want it to sink in, not forget about this. We can’t forget about it. All these school shootings, it doesn’t make sense. Fix it.
There should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. And I’m pissed. Because my daughter, I’m not going to see again. She’s not here. She’s not here. She’s in North Lauderdale King David cemetery, that is where I go to see my kid now. And if we all work together and come up with the right idea, school safety.
It is not about gun laws. That is another fight, another battle. Let’s fix the schools and then you guys can battle it out whatever you want. But we need our children safe. Monday, tomorrow, whatever day it is, kids go to school. Do you think everyone’s kids are safe?
I didn’t think it was going to happen to me. If I knew that, I would have been at the school every day if I knew it was that dangerous. Work with the president and fix schools. That’s it. No other discussion. No more discussions. I’ll never see my kid again. Never ever will I see my kid. I want to sink in. Eternity. My daughter, I’m never going to see again. And it is simple. We can fix it.