Respect the wishes of Parkland parents this Valentine's Day
Excerpt: In Parkland, the arrival of February 14 eclipses the Hallmark holiday. Thursday marks one year since a former student shot and killed 17 and injured 17 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The day is forever seared in the memory of South Florida.
Memorials and ceremonies have been planned across Florida and around the world to remember the 14 students and three school staffers lost that day. Stoneman Douglas will be open Thursday for a short day of community service projects.
According to the school district, students can participate in projects including serving breakfast to first responders and packing meals for undernourished children beginning at 7:40 a.m. There will be mental health providers on campus and therapy dogs available. A moment of silence will be held at 10:17 a.m. The school closes at noon.
“That’s for the community,” said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was among those killed. “[It has] no meaning on the families. I don’t need any reminder on the 14th to remember my daughter was murdered.”
“I don’t need a day to remind me of that day,” Pollack added. “I live it every day.”
Fred Guttenberg said his family will visit his daughter Jaime at the cemetery and stay in for the day.
“We just are just going to spend the time as a family,” he said. “Most families I’ve spoken to are going to take a more private approach.”
Bottom Line: I don’t know what the right answer is to appropriately pay our respects to the victims and their families this Thursday. I do have an idea of what wouldn’t be appropriate. Emotions will without a doubt run even higher than usual as the memories and sounds of that day are remembered. It’s my hope that we allow families the space and privacy they desire. Let’s not make it a day of protests and politicking. If someone engages you and tries to make it about that, at least for Thursday, don’t take the bait.
In a year since the day that changed Parkland and Valentine’s Day for the families forever a lot has been accomplished.
- We passed comprehensive reforms as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Safety Act
- We passed a state Constitutional Amendment creating a state-run FBI to help prevent failures at the federal level
- We haven’t had another attack at a school despite numerous threats
There’s progress for this community to take pride in and reflect on one year later. Of course, there’s also a lot of work left to do. It’s remarkable that the Broward School District is still having“discussions” on next steps to implement school security measures, for example. But we can pick that conversation back up on Friday. Let’s respect the wishes of those who lost the most a year ago on Thursday.