There was no excitement or celebration when Lori Alhadeff and Ryan Petty filed their candidacy papers Tuesday morning to run for Broward County School Board.
Instead, the parents were somber as they spoke of their sense of duty to make schools safer nearly three months after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left their children dead. Fifteen others were also killed in the shooting Feb. 14.
“I’m running so I can represent parents all over the district who deserve to have their children come home to them,” said Petty, who lost his daughter, Alaina, 14, in the shooting.
Alhadeff also lost her daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, in the shooting. “As a school board member, I’m going to ask the tough questions,” she said.
That includes questions about the district's controversial discipline program, PROMISE. After more than two months of denial, Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie announced at the beginning of May that confessed-shooter Nikolas Cruz was assigned to the rehabilitation program back in 2013 for vandalism.
“The PROMISE program needs to be revamped,” Alhadeff said Tuesday.
But she and Petty do not favor firing Runcie. “This isn’t about replacing the superintendent,” Petty said about his candidacy. Alhadeff agreed, saying, "He's a good person."
But Petty and Alhadeff are pushing a new vision for the school district -- one that would prevent the type of tragedy they've endured.
“We just need to fix the execution and implementation problems that plague the district,” Petty said. “Like many of the families, we dedicated ourselves to change a system that would allow somebody like Nikolas Cruz to fall through the cracks.”
Petty is running for Seat 8 on the school board, or an At-Large seat; Alhadeff is running to represent District 4 on the board.
Currently Seat 8 is being held by Donna Korn, and District 4's seat is being held by Abby Freedman.
The candidates will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.
This story has been updated.