Parkland Mom Lori Alhadeff Wins School Board Seat Just Months After Losing Her Daughter
In Florida on Tuesday evening, Parkland Mom Lori Alhadeff won a school board seat just months after losing her daughter, Alyssa, in a school shooting. Alhadeff secured a spot on the Broward County School Board after campaigning to increase accountability in the school system.
As the Miami Herald reported, Alhadeff filed to run in District 4 back in May 2018, around three months after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Alhadeff and another Parkland parent, Ryan Petty, campaigned in tandem for school board seats, with Petty running in District 8. Petty also lost his daughter, Alaina, in the Feb. 2018 shooting.
The duo campaigned on a promise of demanding “more leadership, more transparency and more accountability to the Broward County school system," as Alhadeff told the Miami Herald. Alhadeff readily secured victory on Tuesday, winning around 65 percent of the vote. However, Petty narrowly lost his race after incumbent Donna Korn won a majority of the vote.
As CNN reported, Alhadeff was inspired to run for school board following the Parkland shooting. Earlier in her campaign, she tweeted, "After losing my daughter Alyssa in the Parkland Shooting, I realized the only way to make change is to do it myself ..." After her victory in the school board race, Alhadeff expressed that she was looking forward to making changes, telling the Miami Herald, “I am so excited. I am elated ... I can’t wait to start making change and start making an impact on the school board.”
Alhadeff also told the Sun Sentinel after her victory that she knew her daughter would be proud of her, saying:
Her death empowered me to want to run for School Board ... I know Alyssa would be so proud, and I want to make sure what happens to my daughter doesn't happen to another family.
The Sun Sentinel also reported on Tuesday that, as a school board member, Alhadeff plans to seek more oversight of Broward Schools' superintendent, Robert Runcie. Alhadeff has criticized Runcie for his response to the Parkland shooting. She told the paper on Aug. 15 that, following the shooting, she believes the school district did not provide security upgrades quickly enough and did not sufficiently hold people accountable for their actions. Moreover, the paper also reported on Aug. 28 that Alhadeff has been frustrated with Runcie over what she believes is a slow rollout of an $800 million school improvement bond that was originally approved in 2014.
In addition to deciding to run for school board following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, Alhadeff, along with her husband, Ilan, launched a nonprofit called Make Schools Safe. The goal of the organization is to "improve the safety of schools, research and test best practices, as well as implement those protocols by creating model schools, beginning in South Florida and spreading nationwide." On its website, Make Schools Safe indicates that the organization believes that "many protocols went amiss at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the tragic day of the shooting" and it seeks to ensure that protocols are improved so a similar situation does not occur in the future.
It's clear that Alhadeff is highly committed to improving school safety and transparency in the wake of the Parkland shooting. Many will likely be closely watching to see what actions she and her fellow school board members take as they begin their new terms.