LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – Max Schachter, the father of one of the 17 Parkland shooting victims, gave a presentation on the importance of school safety at Hollis Hand Elementary School on Oct. 12, 2021. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lost 17 students and staff members on Feb. 14, 2018 to a school shooting.
Since then, Schachter has traveled all over the country as a national school safety advocate and created the nonprofit organization, Safe Schools for Alex, in honor of his son Alex Schachter.
“After Alex was murdered, I made it my mission to do everything I could to prevent the next Parkland and make schools safer and so this is why I am here is to get my message out,” said Schachter.
Schachter was invited by the Troup County School System and the LaGrange Police Department to give a presentation on information he has gathered since the Parkland shooting in 2018. Schachter has advocated for school safety at both the federal and state level hoping to ensure safety at schools around the country.
Throughout the presentation Schachter emphasized multiple things that can be important to preventing school shootings. He mentioned how detrimental suspension can be for a student and the negative impacts it has when a student is removed from a school setting. He also spoke about the importance of practicing active school shooter drills in schools. He said in the event that a school shooting takes place there are protocols in place, ready to be used to avoid another tragedy like the Parkland school shooting.
He also mentioned the importance of recognizing warning signs in students. According to Schachter, Nikolas Cruz, the former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student responsible for the shooting presented many signs that he was a troubled child. Schachter mentioned Cruz having photos of mutilated animals on his social media accounts, being in and out of therapy for many years and many disciplinary actions while in school.
“My hope is to educate people and to talk about school safety and to bring this to the forefront of everyone’s minds because now we got a mental health crisis in our country. All the children were segregated and really locked up during COVID, they didn’t have any interaction, any physical contact and so there are a lot of children that are struggling and having a lot of issues now. School safety really needs to have 100% of our attention on because if the children and the staff don’t make it home every night nothing else matters” said Schachter.
Schachter commended TCSS for its efforts in keeping students and staff safe and mentioned how the school system’s advancements and initiatives show that safety is at the forefront. He hopes the presentation presented people with information and resources that can help avoid the occurrence of another school shooting.