MetroFocus: November 28, 2022

LESSONS FROM PARKLAND:

WHAT THE NATION’S DEADLIEST HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING CAN STILL TEACH US ABOUT PREVENTING FUTURE TRAGEDIES

In the wake of this month’s senseless mass shootings at a Colorado LGBTQIA+ nightclub and a Walmart in Virginia, we’re taking you inside the push to learn everything we can from heartbreaking tragedies like these and spread potentially life-saving lessons. It’s been almost five years since the nation’s deadliest high school shooting in Parkland, FL, and much is still being uncovered about what went so wrong that day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. To help spread these critical lessons to more communities, actress and Marjory Stoneman alum Cassie Scerbo has teamed up with some of the most influential young actors in the country on the documentary, “Code Red: Youth of the Nation.” Scerbo, who served as executive producer on the film, joins us to discuss the tools and solutions needed to put an end to these tragedies.

Learn more about our Exploring Hate initiative.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, LIFE SAVING LESSONS FROM AMERICA'S DEADLIEST HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING.

HOW SOME OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL YOUNG ACTORS IN THE COUNTRY ARE COMING TOGETHER TO HELP COMMUNITIES LEARN FROM THE PARKLAND, FLORIDA, SCHOOL SHOOTING AND HOW TO PREVENT FUTURE TRAGEDIES LIKE IT.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

FOLLOWING THE RECENT MASS SHOOTINGS AT A COLORADO SPRINGS LGBTIA PLUS NIGHTCLUB AND A VIRGINIA WALMART, TONIGHT WE DISCUSS THE DIFFICULT LESSONS LEARNED FROM HEARTBREAKING TRAGEDIES SUCH AS THESE, AND HOW THEY CAN POTENTIALLY SAVE LIVES.

IT'S BEEN ALMOST FIVE YEARS SINCE THE NATION'S DEADLIEST SHOOTING IN PARKLAND, FLORIDA, AND MUCH IS STILL BEING UNCOVERED ABOUT WHAT WENT SO WRONG THAT DAY AT MARGELY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH.

ACTRESS AND ALUM CASSIE SCERBO KNOWS IT ALL TOO WELL.

CASSIE'S TEAMED UP WITH THE SOME OF THE COUNTRY'S MOST INFLUENTIAL YOUNG ACTORS FOR 'CODE RED: YOUTH OF THE NATION,' HER DOCUMENTARY.

SHE ATTENDED STONEMAN PRIOR TO THE SHOOTING AND HAS ROOTS IN LONG ISLAND AND HELPED EXECUTIVE PRODUCE THE FILM.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

AND I LOOK AT THE CLOCK AND I SAY, I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY WOULD START ASSIMILATION AT 2:21.

IT MAKES NO SENSE.

THERE ARE KIDS ON CAMPUS.

THAT PART I COULDN'T PROCESS AT ALL.

AROUND 2:30 POLICE RESPONDED TO REPORTS OF GUNFIRE AT MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL.

I IMMEDIATE LID JUMPED UP AND YELLED, MY SON'S IN THE BUILDING.

JUST LIKE, BOOM, BOOM, JUST GOING OFF.

YOU HEAR LIKE RINGING IN YOUR CHEST.

WHAT'S GOING ON?

THERE'S A SHOOTER AT THE SCHOOL.

I DIDN'T KNOW WHERE THE SHOOTER WAS, IF HE WAS GOING TO START SHOOTING SHOTS AGAIN.

YOU'RE ASKING ME IF THIS IS LIVE INTEL.

IS THAT WHERE HE WAS RIGHT NOW.

IT WASN'T LIFE.

WE WERE WATCHING SOMETHING THAT HAD ALREADY GONE.

THERE WERE NUMEROUS FAILURES.

WHEN I LOOK BACK TO THE PARKLAND SHOOTING IT REMINDS ME OF 9/11.

WE LOOK AT EDUCATORS, LAW ENFORCEMENT.

IT FAILED.

I WANT TO BE CLEAR HERE -- WE MADE A MISTAKE.

ONE OF THE MOST ATROCIOUS PART OS THIS ENTIRE THING IS THAT YOUNG MAN WAS ON EVERYBODY'S RADAR.

EVEN BEFORE THEY ANNOUNCED HE WAS THE SHOOTER, WE ALL KNEW IT WAS NICK.

YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW.

WHAT COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROTECTING OUR KIDS?

AS SOON AS HE WALKED IN THE BUILDING ALL I HEARD WAS, BOP BOP BOP BOP.

WE'RE FAILING.

ISN'T MAKING A THREAT AGAINST A SCHOOL A CRIME?

NOT IF THE PERSON DOESN'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO CARRY IT

THIS IS TIME TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN, PRIORITY NUMBER ONE.

DON'T WAIT UNTIL IT'S YOUR TIME, BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO GET TAP ON THE SHOULDER.

WE'RE GOING TO GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN.

KNOWING HURT KIDS WILL BE SAFE HAS BEEN A LONG TRADITION OF FAITH THAT HASN'T CHANGED FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS.

THAT IS UNTIL NOW.

A SEA CHANGE OF SOCIETY AND BASIC TRUST IN OUR SCHOOLS IS UPON US.

IT'S ALL ABOUT US.

WE HAVE THE POWER.

WE CAN PREVENT THE NEXT SHOOTING.

A CHANCE FOR US TO HELP AND A DEMAND TO NOT LOOK AWAY.

SO, CASSIE, WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU FIRST LEARNED ABOUT THE COLORADO SPRINGS NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING FOR THE FIRST TIME?

IT'S GUT WRENCHING.

I MEAN, IT'S UNFORTUNATELY BECOMING THE NEW NORMAL, WHICH IS SO SICKENING, AND YOU KNOW, IN OUR CASE, YOU KNOW, PUTTING TOGETHER CODE RED, THE FACT THAT THIS IS HAPPENING IN SCHOOLS -- I THINK 35 SHOOTINGS NOW ALONE THIS YEAR HAVE TAKEN PLACE.

THE FACT THAT THIS IS STILL HAPPENING IN FACILITIES WHERE OUR YOUTH ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING EDUCATED AND BEING CHILDREN AND SHOULD NOT BE STEPPING INTO SCHOOL AND FEAR, IT BREAKS MY HEART.

YOU HEAR THESE STORIES ON THE NEWS ALL THE TIME, AND EVERY TIME THEY ARE SO HEARTBREAKING.

BUT WHEN IT'S YOUR OWN HIGH SCHOOL AND THE WALLS THAT YOU -- AND THE HALLWAYS THAT YOU ONCE WALKED IT REALLY GOES THE SHOW THIS CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE.

REALLY PUTS THAT INTO REALITY WHICH IS GUT WRENCHING AND IT'S TIME WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING.

AND WE WANTED TO TAKE OUR TIME AND DO THE PROPER RESEARCH AND MAKE SURE EVERYTHING WAS FACT CHECKED.

IT TOOK US FOUR YEARS TO DO THE DOCUMENTARY BECAUSE WE WANTED TO ENSURE IT WAS DONE IMMACULATELY.

BY DEAR FRIEND CONNER RILEY, BY COEXECUTIVE PRODUCER ALONG WITH OTHER WONDERFUL PRODUCERS REALLY NAILED IT.

FLEW ALL OVER, MADE SURE HE GOT THE PROPER RESEARCH, THE INTERVIEWS DOWN.

WE SPOKE WITH STUDENTS, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS, TEACHERS THAT WERE THERE THAT DAY.

WE SPOKE WITH PSYCHOLOGISTS.

AND I'M JUST SO HAPPY THIS IS OUT IN THE WORLD, BECAUSE I GENUINELY FEEL THAT IF EVERYBODY WOULD WATCH THIS FILM WE COULD ABSOLUTELY ELIMINATE THIS FROM HAPPENING MOVING FORWARD.

THE SHOOTING AT DOUGLAS WAS SO AVOIDABLE, AND THAT'S THE PART THAT BREAKS MY HEART THE MOST.

IT'S KNOWING HOW WE WENT WRONG AND HOW WE CAN FIX IT MOVING FORWARD.

SOME PUSH BECOME AND SAID SCHOOLS ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE FORTRESSES, SO WHAT IS IT PRODUCING THIS FILM TAUGHT YOU ABOUT WHAT COULD OR SHOULD BE DONE TO PREVENT THINGS LIKE THIS FROM HAPPENING?

RIGHT.

WELL, HERE'S THE THING -- WE SAY THAT SCHOOLS SHOULDN'T BE FORTRESSES BUT AT THE SAME TIME THIS IS THE NEW NORMAL.

IT'S THE REALITY, AND THE NUMBER ONE THING IS WE HAVE TO KEEP OUR KIDS SAFE.

WHEN YOU GO INTO DISNEY LAND, THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH DETECTORS.

IT'S NOT RUINING YOUR ENTIRE DAY.

IT'S ENSURING WE HAVE SAFETY PROTOCOLS DOWN.

AND UNFORTUNATELY, YES, MAYBE IT MIGHT FEEL THAT WAY, BUT IF IT CAN SAVE A LIFE, ENSURING THAT WE TAKE THE PROPER STEPS, IF IT CAN SAVE LIVES, THEN UNFORTUNATELY IN MY OPINION, IT'S WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.

LIKE YOU SAID, THE CC TV, THE POLICE STATION, THE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIDN'T HAVE ACCESS TO THE CC TV.

THEY WERE ON 20-MINUTE DELAY.

THE POLICE OVERCOM GOT OVERLOADED THAT DAY, SO THEY WEREN'T ABLE TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH EACH OTHER AND FIGURE OUT WHERE THE SHOOTER WAS AT THAT MOMENT AND HOW TO ENGAGE AND NEUTRALIZE.

SPEAKING ON THAT, THE ONSITE OFFICER THAT DAY HID BEHIND A WALL FOR 48 MINUTES.

AND, YOU KNOW, I UNDERSTAND THAT SITUATION, NO ONE EXPECTS IT REALLY, BUT WE HAVE TO BE EQUIPPED.

IF YOU ARE THE ONSITE OFFICER AT A SCHOOL, YOU NEED TO BE READY TO ENGAGE AND NEUTRALIZE, WHICH WASN'T DONE.

SO I THINK THAT UNFORTUNATELY, AS MUCH AS IT MIGHT START TO FEEL LIKE A FORTRESS, WE NEED -- AT ALL COST WE NEED TO KEEP OUR STUDENTS SAFE.

IT IS WHAT IT IS, AND IT'S EXTREMELY UNFORTUNATE, ONCE AGAIN, THAT THIS IS THE REALITY.

35 SHOOTINGS IN SCHOOLS THIS YEAR.

IT'S UNFORTUNATELY NOT GETTING ANY BETTER, AND IT'S TIME TO DO SOMETHING AND MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE IS AWARE OF, YOU KNOW, CERTAIN POLICIES THAT ARE EVEN IN PLACE THAT WE TALK ABOUT IN THE DOCUMENTARY THAT I BELIEVE THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE NOT AWARE OF.

AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S SO IMPORTANT FOR TEACHERS AND FOR PARENTS TO BE AWARE OF THESE POLICIES, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, EVERYONE HAS A VOICE, AND WE NEED TO STAND UP TO THE THINGS THAT ARE CAUSING THESE MASSACRES TO TAKE PLACE.

LET'S ALSO TALK ABOUT THE PREVENTIONS.

BECAUSE THE FILM DOES GET INTO THAT, SOME OF THE WAYS WE CAN KEEP FROM GETTING TO A PLACE WHERE WE NEED TO HAVE THESE MORE, YOU KNOW, INFORMED REACTIONS AS TO WHAT TO DO.

HOW DO WE PREVENT SHOOTINGS?

I DO THINK A HUGE FACTOR IS MENTAL HEALTH.

EVERYBODY IN THAT SCHOOL KNEW WHO THE SHOOTER WAS BEFORE IT WAS ANNOUNCED.

THIS PERSON WAS ILL, AND THE SYSTEM FAILED EVERYBODY IN THE SCHOOL THAT DAY BY NOT ENSURING THAT THIS PERSON WAS TAKEN CARE OF.

YOU KNOW, HE HAD BEEN TRANSFERRED BACK AND FORTH FROM BEHAVIORAL SCHOOLS BACK INTO MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS WHICH SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED.

WE NEED TO ENSURE WE'RE TAKING CARE OF OUR MINDS.

WE NEED TO ENSURE WE'RE TAKING CARE OF THE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS THAT'S HAPPENING IN AMERICA RIGHT NOW.

I THINK THAT'S A HUGE PART OF ALL OF THIS, UNFORTUNATELY, I DO FEEL THAT IT'S HARD TO EVEN SAY THIS, THAT HE AND EVERYBODY INVOLVED WAS FAILED THAT DAY.

WELL, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU MENTION HE AND HOW HE WAS FAILED -- BECAUSE THERE IS A PORTION OF THE PUBLIC THAT FEELS AS THOUGH IT'S NOT RIGHT TO -- OR AT LEAST IT'S NOT WORTH NAMING OR GLORIFYING THE SHOOTER.

RIGHT.

AND THE FILM THAT YOU PRODUCE DOES SPEND A FAIR AMOUNT OF TIME IN THE LEAD UP TO.

SO I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS.

ONE, WHY DID YOU FEEL IT WAS CRITICAL TO SHOW THE LEAD UP OF THE SHOOTER'S LIFE TO THE SHOOTING.

AND THEN SECONDLY, WHAT IS THE INTENDED TAKEAWAY FOR THE AUDIENCE?

WHAT SHOULD WE BE UNDERSTANDING IN UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE LEADUP WAS?

IN MY OPINION, THE LEADUP IS EVERYTHING.

THAT'S WHY THIS HAPPENED.

NOT ONLY DID THIS PERSON SUFFER FROM SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS, BUT THERE WERE WARNING SIGNS EVERYWHERE.

AND NOTHING WAS DONE ABOUT IT.

YOU KNOW, HE WAS ON YOUTUBE AND ON MULTIPLE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE WANTED TO BE THE NEXT SCHOOL SHOOTER AND THAT HE WAS GOING TO GO INTO MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS ON FEBRUARY 14th, 2018, AND SHOOT UP THE SCHOOL.

THERE WERE WARNING SIGNS EVERYWHERE, AND NOTHING WAS DONE.

THE COPS WERE CALLED TO THIS PERSON'S HOUSE OVER 35 TIMES AND NOTHING WAS DONE.

BESIDES HIM JUST BEING SWITCHED IN AND OUT OF SCHOOLS.

AND THE DOCUMENTARY REALLY GETS INTO THE POLICIES THAT ARE, HONESTLY, ALMOST PITTING AGAINST OUR STUDENTS AND OUR YOUTH.

BUT -- AND WHICH I WOULD LOVE FOR PEOPLE TO OBVIOUSLY WATCH BECAUSE IT'S VERY DETAILED IN THE DOCUMENTARY, YOU KNOW, WITH DIFFERENT NEWS CLIPS AND DIFFERENT DOCUMENTS AND WHAT NOT.

BUT I JUST, I THINK THE LEADUP IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, BECAUSE THAT'S WHY THIS HAPPENED.

AND ONCE AGAIN IT'S UNFORTUNATE TO SAY THIS, BUT THE SYSTEM DID FAIL THIS PERSON.

AND IN TURN, 17 LIVES WERE TAKEN FROM US.

SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO ENSURE THAT THE GUARDIAN SYSTEM IS REALLY DIGGING IN AND TAKING A LOOK AT WHAT'S BEING SAID ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND WHAT'S BEING SAID ON -- ESPECIALLY WHEN SOMETHING'S BEING REITERATED MULTIPLE TIMES.

THIS PERSON HAD A PLAN, AND EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT IT.

AND ONCE AGAIN, IT BREAKS MY HEART THAT EVERY SINGLE PERSON BEFORE THE SHOOTER WAS EVEN NAMED KNEW WHO THIS PERSON WAS.

DUE TO THEIR ACTS AND DUE TO THEM CONSTANTLY SHARING THEY WANTED TO BE THE NEXT SCHOOL SHOOTER.

KNOWING THE WARNING SIGNS, I THINK THAT'S A BIG PART OF SHOWING THE LEADUP.

LIKE HOW THIS COULD HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED AND ERADICATED HAD PEOPLE STEPPED INTO PLACE AND DONE THEIR JOBS PRIOR TO FEBRUARY 14th, 2018.

I THINK YOU BROUGHT UP A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT, AND OF COURSE THAT IS THE POINT OF POLICY.

BECAUSE THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF BACK AND FORTH AND PUSHBACK ABOUT WHAT IS THE BEST POLICY TO HAVE ON THE BOOKS?

SOME STATES HAVE RED FLAG LAWS, ET CETERA, BUT IF THEY AREN'T FULLY UNDERSTOOD OR PROPERLY ENFORCED, THEN WHAT GOOD ARE THEY?

IS THIS ALSO SOMETHING THAT CHANGES NEED TO HAPPEN ON A POLICY LEVEL THAT'S FULLY UNDERSTOOD BY EVERYONE?

YES.

ABSOLUTELY.

AND TO BE COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT, I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT THESE POLICIES UNTIL WE STARTED RESEARCHING AND SPEAKING WITH THE PROPER PEOPLE.

I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS WAS IN PLACE.

THERE'S NO WAY THAT -- I WOULD SAY MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE NOT AWARE THAT A LOT OF THESE POLICIES ARE IN PLACE.

YOU KNOW, HAD THIS STUDENT GONE ON RECORD, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTERED INTO THE NICK SYSTEM.

THEY WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PURCHASE AR-15s.

THE LIST GOES ON, AND THAT'S WHY I'M REALLY ENCOURAGING AND PUSHING FOR EVERYONE TO WATCH THIS BECAUSE THE DOCUMENTARY DOES SUCH A GOOD JOB AT REALLY BREAKING DOWN ALL THE POLICIES, EVERYTHING THAT WENT ON SYSTEMICALLY.

AND YEAH, LIKE I SAID, I HAD NO IDEA AND NOW THAT I'M AWARE I'M LIKE, OH, MY GOD.

AND THEN THERE'S THE WHOLE -- THERE'S A WHOLE BOUT ABOUT FEDERAL FUNDING AND HOW BASICALLY EVERY STUDENT UP TO A CERTAIN POINT IN THE SCHOOL YEAR HAS A DOLLAR SIGN ON THE TOP OF THEIR HEAD, AND THAT ALONE IS VERY SCARY.

IT'S LIKE, WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT HERE?

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS ENSURING OUR KIDS ARE SAFE.

WE CAN NOT KEEP PEOPLE WHO ARE UNHINGED IN THE SCHOOL DUE TO POLICIES OR FEDERAL FUNDING OR WHATEVER IT MAY BE.

WE NEED TO BE ENSURING THAT OUR CHILDREN ARE SAFE.

AND NOT JUST OUR CHILDREN.

YOU KNOW, WE LOST BELOVED TEACHERS THAT DAY, WHO I KNEW OF VERY WELL.

SO, YEAH, I DO THINK THAT THE DOCUMENTARY DOES A VERY GREAT JOB AT BREAKING DOWN THE POLICIES, AND I WOULD LIKE TO SAY I CAN ALMOST GUARANTEE THAT THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE VERY UNAWARE OF WHAT'S GOING ON.

SPEAKING OF THE PUBLIC, OR MORE IMPORTANTLY, PUBLIC BEHAVIOR -- AND I BRING THIS UP BECAUSE, LIKE, FOR EXAMPLE IN NEW YORK CITY, WE HAVE AN UNOFFICIAL POLICY OF, IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.

AND YET, WHAT SOMETIMES WE SEE IN A LOT OF CASES IS THAT'S A LOT EASIER TO DO WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW THE PERSON WHO MIGHT BE IN CRISIS, LET'S SAY, SHOWING WARNING SIGNS OR RED FLAGS, AS YOU MENTIONED.

DOES THERE ALSO NEED TO BE SOME SORT OF -- AND I'M NOT EVEN SURE WHAT THE THING IS -- SO THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE CLOSE TO AN INDIVIDUAL, THEIR FIRST INSTINCT ISN'T TO TURN A BLIND EYE OR PERHAPS DISMISS WHAT IN HINDSIGHT CAN CLEARLY BE WARNING SIGN OF CRISIS?

I THINK EVERYBODY SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE WARNING SIGNS.

WE DEFINITELY GO INTO A LOT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND WHAT NOT IN THE DOCUMENTARY, BUT THESE WERE GIGANTIC WARNING SIGNS.

LIKE I SAID, THE POLICE WERE CALLED TO THIS PERSON'S HOUSE NUMEROUS TIMES.

IT WAS -- I MEAN, EVERYONE COULD SEE IT FOR THEMSELVES.

HE WAS PLANTING SEEDS EVERYWHERE.

NOT EVEN SEEDS.

I MEAN, LIKE, THE WHOLE GARDEN.

LIKE, THIS PERSON WAS STRAIGHT UP SAYING, I'M GOING TO BE THE NEXT SCHOOL SHOOTER.

AND I THINK THAT, YEAH, IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO NOT EVER, YOU KNOW, TURN A BLIND EYE AND TO -- EVEN IF IT'S SOMEONE THAT'S CLOSE TO YOU THAT YOU LOVE AND SOMETIMES YOU FEEL BAD TO TAKE ACTION, WE HAVE TO IN ORDER TO ERADICATE THINGS LIKE WHAT HAPPENED ON FEBRUARY 14th HAPPENING EVER AGAIN.

IT IS KNOWING THE WARNING SIGNS, AND IN THIS CASE, IT WASN'T REALLY HARD TO TELL UNFORTUNATELY.

BUT I DO FEEL LIKE IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO ENSURE THAT OUR YOUTH IS EVALUATED IF SOMEONE FEELS THAT SOMETHING IS OFF.

AS I SAID, WE ARE IN A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS, AND EVEN THOUGH THIS WAS PREPANDEMIC, YOU KNOW, WE ARE IN A TIME WHERE THE WORLD IS VERY HEAVY RIGHT NOW.

WE'VE GOT TO CHECK IN ON EACH OTHER.

WE'VE GOT TO ENSURE WE'RE TAKING STEPS OURSELVES TO ENSURE THAT OUR MENTAL HEALTH IS RIGHT.

WE'RE LIVING IN VERY DIFFICULT TIMES.

SO I THINK THAT KNOWING THE WARNING SIGNS, STEPPING IN, ENSURING THAT PEOPLE GET THE PROPER HELP, IS SO IMPORTANT, WHICH IS ALSO VERY HARD, BECAUSE IT'S NOT FREE.

YOU KNOW?

SO THAT'S A WHOLE OTHER THING.

I TALK A LOT ABOUT THIS ON PANELS WITH MY ORGANIZATION, BECAUSE THERE'S SUCH A PARALLEL BETWEEN, YOU KNOW, MENTAL HEALTH AND BULLYING AND SUICIDE.

WE DO SUICIDE PREVENTION OUTREACH AS WELL.

SO IT IS ABOUT KNOWING THE WARNING SIGNS, IT IS STEPPING IN, NO MATTER HOW HARD THAT MIGHT BE OR HOW MUCH YOU MAYBE DON'T WANT TO OUT SOMEBODY, WHATEVER IT MAY BE.

LIKE, MENTAL HEALTH IS, TO ME, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

I MEAN, YOUR MIND SO SO POWERFUL, AND UNFORTUNATELY THAT DAY, THIS PERSON'S MIND WAS VERY POWERFUL AND DID SOMETHING ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIC.

SO, I DO THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE SIGNS AND TO CHECK IN ALWAYS.

WELL, ALSO, THIS FILM IS BEING RELEASED JUST SHORTLY AFTER THE SENTENCING OF THE PARKLAND SHOOTER.

SO SO MANY QUESTIONS, BUT FIRST OFF, WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE SENTENCING THAT WAS HANDED DOWN.

OR PERHAPS, DEPENDING ON THE WAY YOU LOOK AT IT, THE SENTING THAT WAS NOT GIVEN?

THIS QUESTION IS SO HARD FOR ME.

I KNOW FAMILIES OF THE VICTIMS.

ANDY POLLACK.

I KNEW THE TEACHERS.

THE HARDEST PART FOR ME IS THE FACT THAT THESE -- YOU KNOW, THE FAMILIES OF THESE VICTIMS HAD TO LIVE THROUGH THIS NIGHTMARE ALL OVER AGAIN DURING THE TRIAL, AND THEN, YOU KNOW, FEELING THAT JUSTICE WASN'T SERVED TO THEM, THAT'S -- FOR ME IT'S JUST MY HEARTBREAKS FOR THE FAMILIES.

AND THE FACT THAT THEY FELT THAT JUSTICE WASN'T TRULY SERVED.

BUT YEAH, IT'S KIND OF CRAZY BECAUSE WE DIDN'T PLAN FOR THE DOCUMENTARY TO COME OUT A COUPLE WEEKS PRIOR TO THE SENTENCING, BUT IF ANYTHING, THE DOCUMENTARY IS JUST AS PREVALENT NOW AS IT EVER WAS, BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE BECOMING -- YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE VERY AWARE NOW OF EVERYTHING THAT HAD GONE ON BECAUSE WE HAD TO RELIVE IT THROUGH THIS TRIAL, AND INFURIATED AND HEARTBROKEN ALL OVER AGAIN, AND ALSO LIKE I SAID, THEY'RE NOT STOPPING.

THERE HAVE BEEN MORE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS THAN EVER BEFORE.

SO THIS IS A NATIONAL CODE RED, AND YOU KNOW, I JUST POINT PERIOD BLANK MY HEART GOES OUT TO ALL THE VICTIMS' FAMILIES.

I SPOKE TO A VICTIM'S FATHER THIS MORNING, AND EVERY TIME MY HEART SHATTERS INTO A MILLION PIECES.

I DON'T HAVE WORDS.

THAT'S WHY I KEEP GOING ON AND ON.

IT WILL NEVER BE REAL TO ME.

WHEN I SPOKE AT MARCH FOR OUR LIVES, JUST SUPPORTING THE SCHOOL, I WAS IN PARKLAND STANDING UP THERE IN FRONT OF THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.

IT WAS SO SURREAL.

I JUST COULDN'T BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED TO MY COMMUNITY.

AND IF IT WERE ANY COMMUNITY IT WOULD BREAK MY HEART, BUT IT'S SO CRAZY THESE WERE MY PEOPLE.

THIS WAS MY HOMETOWN.

AND ALL WE CAN DO FROM HERE SO TO ENSURE THAT THOSE PASSINGS WERE NOT IN VAIN AND WE DO CREATE CHANGE MOVING FORWARD AND TAKE THE PROPER STEPS AND WE DO TO RIGHT RESEARCH SO THAT EVERYBODY IS AWARE OF, YOU KNOW, HOW TO STOP THESE SHOOTINGS FROM HAPPENING EVER AGAIN.

ANOTHER HUGE THING IS ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING.

YEAH, IT'S HARD TO FACE, BUT ONCE AGAIN AS I SAID, IT IS THE REALITY.

AND THE TEACHER, WE SAT DOWN WITH ONE OF THE TEACHERS.

KIM IS A LOVELY HUMAN BEING.

SHE HAD TAKEN ON THE ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING.

SHE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO.

SHE KNEW A CODE RED WAS HAPPENING, AND A LOT OF TIMES PEOPLE ARE UNAWARE OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CODE RED AND A FIRE ALARM.

SO A LOT OF TIMES A PERPETRATOR WILL PURPOSELY PULL THE FIRE ALARM TO FUNNEL STUDENTS INTO THE HALLWAY, AND IT'S ENSURING THAT, YOU KNOW, WE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE AND THAT THEY KNOW THE DIFFERENCE AND THEY'RE AWARE OF THE SIGNS AND HOW TO KEEP THE CHILDREN, THEIR STUDENTS SAFE IN THAT CLASSROOM.

THE CODE RED FOUNDATION, WHICH MY DEAR FRIEND CONNER, WHO DIRECTED THIS AND DID ALL THIS INCREDIBLE RESEARCH FOR THIS FILM AND PRODUCED THE FILM, HE AND HIS FAMILY STARTED THE CODE RED FOUNDATION, WHICH WILL ACTUALLY BE GIVING THESE ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAININGS TO CERTAIN SCHOOLS AND RAISING MONEY TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT, WHICH I THINK IS WONDERFUL, ALSO ENSURING THAT EVERY SCHOOL HAS ENOUGH TRAUMA KITS AND KNOWING WHAT COMES IN A TRAUMA KIT.

HOW TO USE THE GAUZE, THE TOURNIQUET.

EVERY STUDENT WHO HAD A SURVIVABLE GUNSHOT WOUND DID SURVIVE.

SO THAT WAS A POSITIVE IN THIS HORRIBLE TRAGEDY.

BUT IT'S JUST ENSURING THAT WE HAVE EVERYTHING -- IT'S DOING AS MUCH AS WE CAN TO BE AS PREPARED AS WE CAN TOERADICATE THESE THINGS FROM HAPPENING.

YOU MENTIONED FIRE ALARMS.

AND OF COURSE THE CONFUSION THAT THEY CAN CAUSE.

I WANT TO TOSS TO A CLIP FROM THE FILM AND GIVE A WARN, VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED, AS IT INCLUDES FOOTAGE FROM THAT DAY.

BACK INSIDE BUILDING 12, IN THE FIRST FEW MOMENTS OF THE SHOOTING, NINE STUDENTS AND TWO STAFF MEMBERS ARE KILL ON THE FIRST FLOOR, AND SMOKE FROM THE MUZZLE OF CRUZ'S RIFLE SETS OFF THE SCHOOL'S FIRE ALARMS.

IT WAS A NORMAL DAY.

IT WAS JUST VALENTINE'S DAY.

SYSTEM CAME ALONG, AND THEN WE HAD A FIRE DRILL, WHICH ISN'T REALLY OUT OF THE NORM.

I DON'T KNOW, IT'S KIND OF GOOD.

YOU GET TO GET OUT OF CLASS FOR A LITTLE BIT.

I WAS GETTING READY TO PASS BACK A QUIZ SO WE COULD GO OVER THE ANSWERS BEFORE THEY WERE GOING TO TAKE THEIR TESTS THE FOLLOWING DAY, AND ONE OF THE YOUNG LADIES IN MY CLASSROOM, HER NAME IS LEAH, ASKED TO USE THE RESTROOM.

I WALK HER TO THE DOOR WITH A PASS.

FIRE ALARM WENT OFF.

WE WERE LIKE, OH, OKAY, IT'S NEAR THE END OF THE DAY.

WOULDN'T BE A DRILL, SO IT'S DEFINITELY SOMETHING GOING ON.

SHE LEAVES AND AS I'M CLOSING MY DOOR I HEAR THREE LOUD POPS.

[ GUNSHOTS ]

PROBABLY WHAT WOULD BE THE FIRST THREE SHOTS.

IS THIS REAL?

I DON'T KNOW.

[ GUNSHOTS ]

I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY WOULD START A SIMULATION AT 2:21.

MAKES NO SENSE.

IT'S SO LATE IN THE DAY AND THERE ARE KIDS ON CAMPUS.

THAT PART I COULDN'T PROCESS AT ALL.

STAFF AND STUDENTS ON THE SECOND FLOORS DON'T RESPOND TO THE FIRE ALARM BECAUSE THEY CAN HEAR THE GUNSHOTS AND ARE BEGINNING TO SHELTER IN PLACE.

BUT UP ON THE THIRD FLOOR WHERE THE SHOTS CAN'T BE HEARD, STUDENTS FLOOD THE HALLWAY AS THE FIRE ALARM BLARES.

THIS SETS UP THE WORST POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR A SCHOOL SHOOTING.

INSTEAD OF AN EMPTY HALLWAY LIKE ON THE SECOND FLOOR WHERE STUDENTS ARE SHELTERING IN PLACE, ON THE THIRD FLOOR, CRUZ WILL ENCOUNTER A HALLWAY FULL OF KIDS.

IN FACT, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE JONESBORO, ARKANSAS, SCHOOL SHOOTING IN 1998, WHICH KILLED FIVE PEOPLE AND INJURED TEN OTHERS, ONE OF THE SHOOTERS PULLED THE FIRE ALARM ON PURPOSE TO GET THIS SAME RESULT.

FOR THIS REASON, SCHOOLS SHOULD BE OUTFITTED WITH ACTIVE TRIGGER FIRE ALARMS THAT SEND A SIGNAL TO THE MAIN OFFICE FIRST SO STAFF CAN DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO ACTIVATE THE ALARM.

I WANT TO ASK YOU ALSO ABOUT THE ROLE OF SURVISURVIVORS' GUILT.

HOW DO SEE THAT FOR THE PARKLAND COMMUNITY?

THOSE THAT SURVIVED, THOSE THAT WERE ALUMNI?

HOW DO YOU SEE THAT MANIFESTING?

SURVIVOR'S GUILT IS REAL.

WE SAT DOWN ONW A DEAR FRIEND OF MINE, AND SHE SPOKE ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH PORTION, AND THE FACT THAT PEOPLE DID TAKE THEIR LIVES POST SHOOTING.

IT'S HARD, AND WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE'RE TAKING CARE OF OUR YOUTH AND THEY'RE GETTING THE PROPER MENTAL HEALTH CARE.

I KNOW AT MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS THEY HAD PEOPLE TO MAKE SURE NOBODY INJURED THEMSELVES GOING FORWARD.

UNFORTUNATELY THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN.

JUST CHECKING IN, TO NOT NECESSARILY TELL THEM, OH, EVERYTHING'S GOING TO BE OKAY.

IT WILL IN TIME, BUT IT'S BEING ABLE TO JUST UNDERSTAND THEM, LISTEN, AND JUST KIND OF SIT IN IT WITH THEM.

ONE OF OUR -- ONE OF THE PSYCHOLOGISTS TALKS ABOUT THIS REALLY WELL IN THE DOCUMENTARY ABOUT JUST BEING SUPPORTIVE AND ENSURING NO ONE FEELS ALONE.

YEAH, SURVIVOR'S GUILT, I HAD NEVER REALLY RESEARCHED IT TO THIS DEGREE, BUT IT'S ABSOLUTELY HEARTBREAKING WHAT THESE KIDS ARE GOING THROUGH AND, YOU KNOW, WHAT THEY WENT THROUGH AFTER THE CRISIS.

UNFORTUNATELY, YEAH, SOMETHING AGAIN THAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND UNTIL YOU EXPERIENCE IT.

LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST CASSIE OR CASSANDRA SCERBO.

YOU ARE THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF 'CODE RED: YOUTH OF THE NATION' AND ALSO VICE PRESIDENT OF THE ANTI-BULLYING ORGANIZATION, BOO TO BULLYING.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US, AND THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO DO THE EXTENSIVE RESEARCH THAT WAS CLEARLY DONE TO PRODUCE THIS FILM.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

I REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

AND ONCE AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR SHEDDING A LIGHT ON THESE EXTREMELY UNFORTUNATE AND HEARTBREAKING TOPICS.

THE DOCUMENTARY IS OUT ON AMAZON, APPLE, GOOGLE.

PLEASE, IF YOU FEEL INCLINED, IT IS A HARD HITTING FILM.

IT'S A BIT HARD TO WATCH, BUT I DO FEEL WE CAN SAVE LIVES MOVING FORWARD.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

WE JUST WANT TO REALLY GET THE MESSAGES OUT THERE.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

©2023 WNET. All Rights Reserved. 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019

WNET is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID: 26-2810489