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FILE PHOTO: An empty chair is seen in front of flowers and mementoes placed on a fence to commemorate the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins(reuters_tickers)
(Reuters) - A group of parents whose children were killed in the Parkland, Florida school shooting on Thursday called for their school district board to be ousted for failing to ensure security before students return to classes next week.
"The current school board has failed to properly prepare the county’s 234 schools for the upcoming school year," said Tony Montalto, president of Stand With Parkland, a group formed by families of victims of the Feb. 14 attack, during a televised press conference.
The Florida shooting prompted schools across the United States to introduce a host of security measures, ranging from metal detectors to security fences. Montalto said the Broward County School District had no "unified plan" for school safety.
He urged voters to replace the five district board members whose seats are up for election on Aug. 28.
He cited the district's failure to create a single point of entry in about 40 percent of district schools to increase security. He said the board had yet to conduct a full internal investigation into policies that needed to change after the massacre, in which his 14-year-old daughter Gina, 13 other students and three staff died.
The district in a statement defended its record.
"There is no fast, easy fix," the statement said. "The District has dealt with the shock and trauma of the shooting, managing the aftermath of the tragedy and a variety of ongoing investigations, as it continues to evaluate new and effective ways to enhance safety and security throughout the school system."
Superintendent Robert Runcie has promised police officers or armed guards will be at all district schools starting next Wednesday.
(Reporting By Andrew Hay; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)