Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Reid saddened by tragic Florida school shooting

Published:Friday | February 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Parents meet at a hotel in Coral Springs, Florida, on Wednesday to pick up their children, following a deadly shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.

Education Minister Ruel Reid has expressed condolences to the families and victims of Wednesday's mass school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida, United States.

"I empathise with the victims, parents, teachers, survivors, employees, the school district, and the community, who are, no doubt, left hurt by this tragic shooting," Reid, who himself is an educator, said via a press release yesterday.

While information so far has failed to name Jamaicans among the victims, Reid said that he has prayed for those who have survived the ordeal and who are in hospital nursing injuries. He added that it was important that healing would come both physically and psychologically from what they have witnessed and experienced.

The superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, Robert W. Runcie, is a Jamaican, and the school falls in his district.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has said that the consulate general of Jamaica in Miami is in contact with county and federal offices "with a view to ascertaining whether any Jamaican nationals have been affected by the gut-wrenching incident".

The foreign affairs ministry also said that it regretted the loss of lives.




Seventeen persons were killed and 14 others injured when teen gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at his former high school in Parkland, Florida. He was charged with 17 counts of pre-meditated murder at his arraignment yesterday.

Reid said that he understands the loss families are experiencing as Jamaica has suffered similar loss of teens to violent crimes and that he stands with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in its time of bereavement.

"As a father to teens, I am urging all parents to affirm their children, especially their adolescents, with love. Teach them discipline and how to resolve conflict without resorting to violence," Reid urged.

"I commend the brave teachers who hid students in closets to keep them safe during the ordeal. Undoubtedly, these teachers and administrators are true heroes."

There were 48 school shootings in the United States in 2017 and eight such occurrences since the start of 2018.