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Takeaways from Trump’s Meeting with Parkland Survivors and Families

Last Wednesday, President Trump met with grieving families and survivors of the Parkland shooting at the White House to listen to their stories and discuss possible changes in gun regulation and school safety. The shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, and 17 people were killed.

Trump reportedly suggested that arming teachers who are “adept at handling a gun” would make schools safer, according to CNN. He also tweeted on Saturday that “armed educators…should get [a] yearly bonus.”

Several of those in the crowd supported Trump’s idea of arming teachers skilled with firearms, The New York Times reported. “It’s not about gun laws right now,” said Andrew Pollack, a man who lost his daughter in the shooting. “That’s another fight, another battle. We need our children safe.”

But others were more critical of Trump’s stance and demanded more restrictions on firearms. "Let's talk about prevention," said Nicole Hockley, a woman who had lost her son in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. "There is so much we can do to help this person before we reach this point,” she added, in reference to the mentally ill assailant.

Trump “appeared moved” as he listened to what the survivors and parents had to say, wrote the Times. “I grieve for you,” he said to the survivors, their families, and families of the victims. “To me, there could be nothing worse than what you’ve gone through.”

Photographs taken of Trump at the meeting show him holding a card that appears to list possible prompts and responses to survivors’ stories, such as “What would you most want me to know about your experience?” and “I hear you.”

Tom Brenner/The New York Times

Tom Brenner/The New York Times

After mentioning that he would take age restrictions and mental health requirements into consideration for gun policy changes, Trump tweeted last Wednesday: “I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families. So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!”