Father of victim reflects on three years since Parkland school shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sunday marks three years since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Among the 17 students and faculty who were killed in the tragedy was Alex Schachter. Father Max Schachter said not a day goes by where he doesn’t miss his son.

“Every day is hard for me and our family,” Schachter told News4Jax. “I’m not going to be able to teach him how to drive and he would be graduating this year and going to college, and I’ll never be able to get to move him into college and join a fraternity and have a girlfriend and get married. And it’s just all just horrible. So every day is like Sunday for me.”

On Thursday, Schachter helped launch the first statewide dashboard to reduce school violence — School Incident Report.

MORE: How the Parkland shooting launched a new generation of activists

“So for the first time, parents are now going to have an idea of what’s happening in their school. They’ll be able to go on the site to see how many how much violence is in their school, how much drug use is in their school, and they’ll be able to get a lot of information that most parents never knew existed before. And then this will start a conversation,” Schachter said.

Schacter also wants to shed light on what he calls a “mental health crisis” in America.

RELATED: Examining mental health strides 3 years after Parkland

“This dashboard is going to help schools all over Florida, reduce violence, reduce suspensions, and create a positive culture and climate on your campus. And, you know, help us so that we can do this replicate this dashboard and every state in the country,” he said.

Earlier this month, Florida’s U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and 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 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.

About the Author:

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.