PARKLAND, Fla. – When Alyssa Alhadeff and Alaina Petty, both 14, died in a mass shooting this year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, their mourning parents publicly mourned their daughters and questioned politicians what could be done to help them to prevent other tragedy.
Then they themselves entered the political arena and launched campaigns for the elected body with the greatest power over the education of their daughters: the Broward County School Board.
On Tuesday, one of them, Lori Alhadeff, won her election to the board, pledging to focus on security and hold responsible administrators who blame her for failing to adhere to post-shooting security measures. On February 1
"I'm so excited to honor my daughter, Alyssa, and the 16 other victims in Parkland shooting and to be the voice of change," said Ms. Alhadeff, 43, after her victory.
Parkland shooting drew much more attention than most other school murders, in part because of student survivors and families of victims in the affluent and mostly liberal community almost immediately in gun politics, loud and energetic to state and federal legislators speaking. Several families began their own school safety and awareness efforts, and some parents even appeared in television ads for Democratic candidates for the Governor of Florida and advocated a stricter arms control.
However, local attention focused on the school district. Parkland families appeared as critics of Superintendent Robert W. Runcie's administration and said he was more transparent in dealing with the former student accused of the killings and take more decisive steps to secure the school grounds after the shootings.
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Mr. Runica's employment seemed in jeopardy if his critics could gain school boards. But most of the reigning supporters of the Superintendent fought off their challengers on Tuesday. Ms. Alhadeff was less critical than Mr. Petty of the Superintendent and said she would wait to make her decision until she took her place and reviewed the inner workings of his administration.
Mr. Runcie has defended his actions, admitted some mistakes, but realizes that there is no game book to prevent or respond to a devastating school mindset.
"There is no easy solution and it will take a while for us to go through this very difficult situation process," he told reporters in Parkland earlier this month. "But in this moment of our journey, we need stability in leadership in this school system in our community."
wife. Alhadeff won a Parkland seat, where the established, Abby Freedman decided not to choose again. One of her opponents, Tennille Doe-Decoste, is the mother of Joaquin Oliver's best friend, one of the students killed by Stoneman Douglas. Another candidate, Richard Mendelson, a former Stoneman Douglas teacher, is a friend of the family of Aaron Feis, a trainer who died during the shoot. Mr Mendelson lost to an incumbent, Laurie Rich Levinson
. Petty tried to drive Mrs. Korn, a seven-year incumbent, in a district seat. He was criticized for old posts on Twitter, which Ms. Korn said was bigoted. He apologized for his earlier comments.
A group of families of parkland victims, Stand With Parkland, had called for a major change at the school board. Some parents had a particular problem with a speech that Ms. Korn sent to district employees this month, saying that the past school year had been "amazing."
"It was difficult to hear those words," said April Schentrup. The 16-year-old daughter Carmen was killed in the filming. Ms. Schentrup was headmistress of a public school at the time of the shooting, but was later reassigned to oversee district security. "We know it was not the best year in Broward Schools," she said.
wife. Korn apologized, but the controversy underscored the ugly tone some school board rallies made over the following weeks. The police were even called after candidates and their volunteers had verbally quarreled in early voting arrangements.