(CNSNews.com) - In a speech addressing Wednesday’s shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration is “committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”
Making schools safe will be “top priority” when he meets later this month with the nation’s governors and attorneys generals, the president said.
The president said his administration is working closely with local officials in Parkland, Fla., to investigate the school shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people when a former student opened fire on students and teachers at the end of the school day and injured 15 more.
“Answer hate with love. Answer cruelty with kindness. We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors,” Trump said.
As CNSNews.com reported, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was reportedly treated at a mental health clinic but had not been adjudicated as mentally ill, which would have prohibited him from legally buying the AR-15 rifle that he used in the shooting. Cruz had been “expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” Trump said in a tweet early Thursday morning.
“Our entire nation with one heavy heart is praying for the victims and their families. To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting very badly, we are here for you whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also,” Trump said in his speech.
“No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning,” he said.
“Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them - a life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise. Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give and talents to share with the world, and each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world,” he added.
Trump thanked “law enforcement, first responders, and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger.”
He said he plans to visit Parkland “to meet with families and local officials and to continue coordinating the federal response.”
“In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold onto God’s word in Scripture: ‘I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you.’ We trust in that promise, and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow,” the president said.
He also addressed “America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused, or even scared” and said they are “never alone” and “never will be.”
“You have people who care about you, who love you and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer, or a faith leader,” Trump said.
“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference. In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community, and country,” he said.
“These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil, and these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need, and so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close. Let us pray for healing and for peace, and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow,” Trump added.