When Andrew Pollack's daughter, Meadow, was killed on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida, the devastated father's mission became finding out the truth as to why she died. What he discovered was "the most avoidable mass shooting" in history. The shooter was Nikolas Cruz of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was enabled by Obama-era Department of Education lenient school discipline measures known as "restorative justice." This meant Cruz was able to slip through the cracks despite being a clearly dangerous threat. His actions that day were made possible by politically correct policies seeking "racial justice." Alongside the Manhattan Institute's Max Eden, Pollack compiled what he says is a "call to action" for parents across America. The unlikely duo have written a book, Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created The Parkland Shooter and Endanger America's Students. Its message is that if parents want to prevent the next tragedy, then they must figure out what is going in their public school district and stop these dangerous policies that are forced upon American kids.
"My daughter would want me to hold everybody accountable who had a hand in this," Pollack told media and the public at the Family Research Council's office in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. "And that’s what I’m doing. I’m wrecking everybody."
As the authors explain, Broward County "was ground zero for a new approach to school discipline, promoted by radical leftist organizations like the SPLC and enforced by an Obama Department of Education 'Dear Colleague' letter." The letter upheld the policies in place in Broward as models of excellence. Why? Arrests were down, suspensions were down, and school officials reported that their schools were becoming safer. What was actually happening was that school officials and local police were barred from disciplining individuals who clearly needed punishment.
For example, a child could have "four misdemeanors per school year without getting introduced to the legal system or law enforcement" and instead were offered "alternative" measures such as a healing circle or video where the impetus was placed on the teacher to get the child to change his ways via non-aggressive approaches.
It gets even worse for students like Cruz. Pollack directly blames the Broward County School Board, teacher's union, and sheriff's office for their non-disciplinary approach as to why Cruz, a disturbed individual who had a clear record of making sexual, violent, and death threats, was allowed in school.
As for what happened the day of the shooting, Pollack's story is tragic.
"My son told me there was a shooting at the school...and I didn't think anything of it..I thought it was maybe you know one incident, or something happened with a police officer...an accidental misfire...but as the day started progressing it started getting worse," a visibly emotional Pollack said. "And we couldn't find Meadow all day long. We went from the hospital. My wife worked at the hospital, so I had her going from room to room in the hospitals looking for my daughter. " By 6:00 PM, he knew she was dead.
.@AndrewPollackfl shares the heartbreaking story of the day he learned his daughter Meadow was killed in the #ParklandSchoolShooting.— FRC (@FRCdc) September 17, 2019
Watch the entire talk on #WhyMeadowDied: https://t.co/9tb2XZvmvf pic.twitter.com/K50hlBNkCb
From there, Pollack decided he would not let his daughter die in vain. He began asking questions. He even ran for school board. He was attacked as a racist by the teacher's union and those in local government for daring to stand against the school's disciplinarian policy.
"I can honestly tell you I did everything humanly possible to fix the county and schools," Pollack said. "And it’s honestly not repairable.”
As for his school board run, Pollack said, "We wanted to make it safer for the teachers." But, "the Board's teacher’s union? They fought like it was the Civil War and the north vs south" and demonized Pollack and his family.
"I hate to categorize Democrats, but I don’t care anymore," he said. "They hurt me more than anything imaginable. The things you hear about the president? That’s nothing compared to what the Democrats in Broward County said about me and my family."
A month ago, Pollack recalls, the president of the teacher's union complained to the school board that Borward's teachers were being assaulted by students, and demanding change. These were the exact problems Pollack sought to address. They would not let him. Why not? Because Pollack has exposed the school system as dangerous.
This all started shortly after the shooting when he met Max Eden. Eden was in town for what he thought was going to be an article or two about the shooting. Pollack reached out, and together they worked to get to the bottom of the real story.
"This book is the truth, regardless of what the media says," Pollack said.
"The people who got the attention were the ones who wanted to say it was about the 'scary gun...It was all these leniency programs," he explained.
For example, Cruz was so dangerous he required extra security while in middle school.
"They had to frisk him before he entered the school...He threatened students' lives, he wasn’t arrested," he added. At one point, those looking after him were concerned about a missing hatchet from his garage. They were concerned he was going to harm others with that hatchet.
"But some teacher’s recommended that he be brought back in to the school system," Pollack continued. They wanted him in a normal high school despite the fact they had to "tie his desk down in middle school."
While at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, "the first class they put him in was JROTC where they taught him how to shoot and gave him an air rifle."
But this treatment wasn't unique to Cruz. The co-author told FRC on Tuesday that Broward County's restorative justice policy is "so sick that there was nothing that could catch" Cruz. He did what he did because of the "politically correct cancer of these leniency programs."
He says if just one person did something differently in Cruz's academic career, he would have been stopped. But he says the end result was entirely predictable.
While the authors hold school officials "morally responsible" they "understand why they did what they did."
"But you can’t call it a failure, because every irresponsible decision made rational sense," given the instructions handed down by the sheriff, school board, and other influencers like the Souther Poverty Law Center, Eden explained. "Broward County’s district paved the way [for Cruz] because of low suspensions, low arrests, the total suite of leniency policy."
Why Meadow Died, he asserts, shows that what occurred in Broward is "mind boggling, it’s staggering. It’s as if everything going wrong in American education all colluded to let this happen."
As for Pollack, his ultimate goal is "to be the last parent who said they 'didn’t know what was going on in their schools.'"
"Politicians can only do so much. It’s on the parents now. The only people who can anything now for the public school system is parents and grand parents," Pollack warned. "And I hope everybody would read my book, bring it school give it to a teacher, a principal and use it was a manual to see what happened in Broward if they’re interested in knowing the truth."
The authors also explained that the mainstream media has shown no interest in the truth of Parkland, but instead focusing on students and parents who blamed the NRA and Republicans.
"All week long I tried getting on mainstream media," Pollack said. "I guess it’s not important to their liberal viewers, to get their kids in a safe school. [The Media] is despicable and they should be embarrassed for themselves for not wanting to get the truth out there."
As for what parents can do to change the system, Pollack encourages fellow Americans to get involved and stop restorative justice. If your local school board refuses to keep your kids safe by getting rid of these policies, then Pollack advises private school. If you cannot afford that, then he says you should homeschool your children.
Why Meadow Died can be purchased on Amazon. If you are concerned about your children and the public schools, it is a must read book.