Parkland Shooting Survivor, Parent to Testify at House Hearing on School Security
The hearing is set for Thursday, a day after lawmakers and advocates gathered on Capitol Hill for a rally to fight gun violence.
- By Haley Samsel
- September 26, 2019
Following the introduction of new legislation in the Senate that addresses school safety, lawmakers in the House of Representatives will hold a hearing to gather more views on school security on Thursday.
Witnesses who are expected to testify before the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery include Lauren Hogg, the co-founder of the March for Our Lives and a survivor of the Parkland high school shooting in February 2018. Hogg and her older brother, David, published a book last year about student activism on gun violence and their vision for the #NeverAgain movement.
Prior to the hearing, Hogg spoke at a rally against gun violence in Washington, D.C. alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday.
In addition, Max Schachter, whose 14-year-old son Alex was killed in the Parkland shooting, will testify at the hearing. Schachter is the CEO of Safe Schools for Alex, which is supporting the legislation recently introduced in the Senate that would create a federal clearinghouse on best practices for school safety.
Ahead of the hearing, Schachter told POLITICO that he expects the clearinghouse to be launched by the end of October.
“One of the problems in our society is that we do not implement lessons learned,” Schachter said. “After all of these horrible tragedies, each commission has come up with great recommendations to make schools safer. It frustrates me to no end that every time we have to go reinvent the wheel.”
In addition, two experts on school security will speak at the hearing: Jared Maples, the director of the New Jersey homeland security office, and Kathy Martinez-Prather, the director of the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University. Lawmakers plan to ask about each witness’ work to address increased school shooting threats and possible recommendations to address the issue.
"The Trump Administration and Republican-controlled Senate has not done enough to combat the gun violence that is plaguing our schools,” said Rep. Donald Payne (D-New Jersey), who chairs the subcommittee. “I hope that this hearing will help us continue the conversation on school security and motivate the President and the Senate to do more to protect our children."