How many children have to get shot?: Parents and students plead with Trump

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was one of the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, speaks during a listening session with US President Donald Trump.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was one of the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, speaks during a listening session with US President Donald Trump.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - The father of an 18-year-old girl killed last week in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, made an impassioned plea to President Donald Trump on Wednesday (Feb 22) at the White House to act quickly to protect children in the country's schools.

"We're here because my daughter has no voice - she was murdered last week, shot nine times," said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was one of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here, with this administration and me."

Pollack was an unannounced guest at a listening session in the State Dining Room of the White House, which called the session a discussion of school safety.

"We're going to do something about this horrible situation," Trump said as he opened the session, adding that his administration would be "very strong on background checks" of those wishing to purchase guns, and put "a very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody."

But what began with a recitation of somber statements and vows to act quickly became emotional when Pollack took the microphone, venting raw anger and grief.

"It should have been one school shooting, and we should have fixed it, and I'm pissed," Pollack said, raising his voice as he looked at Trump, "because my daughter, I'm not going to see again."

Pollack said he did not favour adopting new gun restrictions, but pleaded for Democrats and Republicans to come together to create new school safety measures.

"It's not about gun laws right now - that's another fight, another battle," he said. "We need our children safe."