Estonian swim instructor in Florida: Parents in tears watching kids protest ({{commentsTotal}})

In the wake of a deadly school shooting in Parkland, protesters in front of the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, urge lawmakers to reform gun control laws. Feb. 21, 2018.
In the wake of a deadly school shooting in Parkland, protesters in front of the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, urge lawmakers to reform gun control laws. Feb. 21, 2018. Source: (Colin Hackley/Reuters/Scanpix)

Following a deadly school shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school last week, students in Florida and across the country have organized protests calling for tighter gun control measures. Merle Liivand, an Estonian swim instructor living in Florida, said that parents are in tears watching their own children protest.

Last week on Valentine's Day, 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a public school located in the Miami metropolitan area.

One of the victims had been one of Liivand's pupils.

Liivand told ETV investigative program "Ringvaade" that the school building where the shooting occurred in Parkland remains closed, adding that teachers are expected to be allowed to return sometime next week.

She noted, however, that parents have called for the building to be demolished and that students have said they do not want to go there anymore either.

According to Liivand, parents are scared to take their children to school, as there have already been so many school shootings during the first two months of this year alone.

"A lot of parents think they should take their kids out of school and switch to homeschooling," she said. "It's very hard for parents right now — you have a choice between taking your kid to school, where they are at least socializing and learning together with other kids, and taking your kid out of school and teaching them yourself. Right now it is very hard for parents to answer the question of what now."

Students across the U.S. have organized protests demanding for tighter gun control laws. Liivand said that just before the interview, she got a text message that a march and walkout in support of stricter gun laws were taking place at the high school on her street.

She explained that the students' message was not that guns shouldn't be available at all, rather that stricter laws should be in place restricting the sale of guns to individuals.

"For a lot of young people it seems unfair that they can buy a firearm [at 18] but not their first drink, as the drinking age in the U.S. is 21," Liivand said. "Parents are just watching in tears as their own children are protesting."

Editor: Aili Vahtla



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