Father of Parkland shooting victim backs federal school safety bill

Florida Sens. Rubio & Scott file legislation to adopt clearing house of school safety info

Max Schachter, father of Alex Schachter, who was killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and now is part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission speaks during their meeting at the BB&T Center on June 7, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. The school safety commission was created after the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in an effort to address several topics in order to prevent future school shootings. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly three years after he lost his son in the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, Max Schachter told News4Jax he wants to make sure schools across the country have the information and resources they need to keep students safe.

On Monday, Florida’s U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, along with Wisconsin’s Sen. Ron Johnson filed the Luke and Alex School Safety Act of 2021, an identical bill as was filed last legislative session.

The legislation was named after Alex Schachter, Max’s son, and his classmate, Luke Hoyer, both of whom were killed in the 2018 attack in Parkland.

If passed, the bill would nationally systematize the bundle of school safety information compiled at schoolsafety.gov.

“After the Parkland shooting, I had this vision to create a school safety clearinghouse at the federal level, and this clearinghouse would house all the best practices and resources for schools to make them safe,” Schachter said. “The Trump administration agreed with my idea, they created this school safety clearinghouse.”

Sen. Rubio said this centralized source for best school safety practices will provide schools some consistency nationwide.

“The Parkland shooting is a tragedy I will never forget, and I was proud of the work I was able to accomplish with the families and the previous administration to help ensure school districts have a reliable central authority, or clearinghouse, where evidence-based and successful models for school safety measures are available,” Rubio said. “This central point of information to improve school safety must be available to states and local education agencies, which is why I support codifying a Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety Best Practices to fulfill that need. Congress should act swiftly to pass this bill.”

Schachter said the information was pulled from the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and The Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is the one place that everybody can find information on grant dollars as well,” Schachter said. “So, I encourage every parent and every school to go to schoolsafety.gov, the federal school safety clearinghouse website, and take a look at it.”

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Similar legislation was also filed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Controversy on Capitol Hill

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, is apologizing, but that rings hollow for those who lost children in Parkland school shooting.

“The entire nation was affected by a horrible tragedy. And for her to say that it never happened or even imply that, you know, is really disgusting of her,” Schachter said, referring to Greene.

She has agreed with people who claimed the Parkland shooting was a “false flag” operation, meaning it was fake, or staged. Video surfaced a week ago, showing Greene harassing Parkland survivor David Hogg outside the Capitol in March 2019.

“It’s disgusting what what she has said about Parkland and Sandy Hook and even Las Vegas. You know, what happened to me and my family didn’t just happen to one family. It happened to 17 families, but it but it also affected our entire community,” Schachter said.

The House voted tonight about removing Greene from committee assignments. Greene spoke on the floor ahead of that vote, but it did not seem to do enough for other elected leaders.

Eleven republicans joined every democrat in voting to remove Greene from her committees.

RELATED: Dem-led House, drawing a line, kicks Greene off committees

“School shootings are absolutely real,” Greene said. “And every child that has lost, those families mourn it”

”We are headed in the wrong direction. If we continue to elect folks who take her approach, we’re going to continue to lose as Republicans. It’s that simple. It’s hard to watch,” said Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, R-Georgia.

”This is not a close call,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts. “Serving on a committee is not a right, it is a privilege. When a member talks about school shootings being false flag operations, they should lose the privilege of serving on the Education and Labor Committee.”

Addressing her colleagues, Greene tried to dissociate herself from her “words of the past.” Contradicting past social media posts, she said she believes the 9-11 attacks and mass school shootings were real and no longer believes QAnon conspiracy theories.

About the Authors:

McLean is a reporter with WJXT, covering education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.