State leaders have announced the first appointments to the newly created Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. Included in those appointments are three fathers — Andy Pollack, Ryan Petty, and Max Schachter — who lost children in the Parkland school shootings last month.
The commission was created under the school safety law enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in the final week of this year’s legislative session.
The commission consists of 15 appointed member — five appointed by each the governor, Senate president and House speaker. (List of appointees is located at the end.)
“I’m proud to appoint five dedicated Floridians to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission including fathers of two of the victims who were critical in helping a bill get passed quickly,” said Scott. “Since the shooting in Parkland, our number one focus has been to make our schools safer while doing everything possible to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again. I’m confident that these appointees will continue the work that has already started in our state to keep our students safe.”
The law also mandates that Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen serves as a member. The heads of the Florida departments of Education, Children and Families, Juvenile Justice and the Agency for Health Care Administration will serve as ex officio members.
Scott appointed both Pollack and Petty to the commission, while Speaker Richard Corcoran appointed Schachter. Meadow Pollack, Alaina Petty and Alex Schachter were killed in the Parkland school shooting.
“Most importantly, an appointee, Max Schachter, brings the tragic experience of being a father who lost his son in that day’s awful events and who is driven to ensure it never happens to another family ever again,” said Corcoran. “I thank those willing to participate, I commend the courage of the family members who will take on this task, and pray that all the efforts of this commission will meet with success.”
Scott also named Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, a Corcoran appointee, to be the commission’s chairman.
Among Negron’s appointees is state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, a child advocate and former classroom teacher who represents portions of Broward County where Parkland is located.
“This diverse cross-section of professional experience and subject matter expertise, will serve the state well as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission embarks on the critically important task before it,” Negron said. “We can never replace the 17 lives lost, and we can never erase the traumatic experience that lives on in the memories of those who survived this horrific attack. However, this Commission will help ensure we do everything we can to reduce the possibility of a tragedy like this ever happening again.”
The following is a list of appointments to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission announced Tuesday.
Governor Scott’s appointees-
Sheriff Larry Ashley, of Okaloosa, is the Okaloosa County Sheriff.
Superintendent Desmond Blackburn, Ph.D., of Brevard County is the Superintendent of Brevard Public Schools.
Chief Kevin Lystad, of Miami Shores, is the Chief of the Miami Shores Police Department. He is the President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.
Ryan Petty, of Parkland, is the father of Aliana Petty, who was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Andrew Pollack, of Parkland, is the father of Meadow Pollack, who was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
President Negron’s appointees-
State Senator Lauren Book, M.S. Ed, is an internationally respected and renowned child advocate, former classroom teacher and best-selling author.
Douglas Dodd is a member of the Citrus County School Board. He served in the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office for over 26 years, retiring as a captain.
James Harpring is the undersheriff for Indian River County and serves as general counsel to the Sheriff’s Department.
Melissa Larkin-Skinner, MA, LMHC, is the Chief Executive Officer at Centerstone Florida. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, she has nearly 25 years of experience in mental health and addictions treatment programs.
Marsha Powers is a member of the Martin County School Board. She was elected to the School Board in 2012.
House Speaker Corcoran’s appointees-
Max Schachter is the father of Alex Schacter, who was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Sheriff Grady Judd is the Sheriff of Polk County. Prior to becoming Sheriff in 2004, Sheriff Judd graduated from the FBI National Academy.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is the Sheriff of Pinellas County and has served with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office for 35 years. Sheriff Gualtieri also serves on the board of directors for the Florida Sheriff’s Association (FSA).
Chief Asst. State Attorney Bruce Bartlett, Pinellas County.
Chief Chris Nelson currently serves as the Chief of Police for the City of Auburndale.