Bipartisan Congressional Delegation Tours School Shooting Site in Florida

Bipartisan Congressional Delegation Tours School Shooting Site in Florida

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
August 4, 2023

Florida Congressman Jared Moskowitz (D) invited a group of congressional lawmakers to walk through and take part in a reenactment in the actual building where the February 14, 2018 school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School took place,

Both Republican and Democrat congressmen and women came in from all over the nation to take part in the reenactment that was set up in an effort to influence lawmakers to work together and make school safety a top priority.

Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, John Rutherford,  and Carlos Gimenez joined Democratic Reps. Moskowitz, Jamaal Bowman, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Frederica Wilson, Nanette Diaz Barragan, and Madeleine Dean, took part in the reenactment and later held a round table discussion with stakeholders in the school tragedy, including local elected officials and some of the parents of children that were killed.

During the press conference that followed the closed-press roundtable discussion, a visibly emotional Rep. Moskowitz called the walk-through of the 1200 school building an” out-of-body experience” and that while he was first a proponent to knocking down the building as soon as possible, the walkthrough made him take pause, stating, “There is value in giving it more time” to not be torn down.

Moskowitz said that he would be inviting another group of Washington lawmakers and the White House to take part in the reenactment.

Moskowitz and others described how the building was left intake after the shooting, and to this day, blood-stained floors were still present.

Rep. Barragan told The Floridian that she was floored to learn that the school had locked the bathrooms that day and that children were gunned down trying to enter the bathrooms to hide, but were not able to because of the locks.

“I've witnessed with these families for five years there's nothing more powerful than visualizing what happened in that building and I'm hoping that it breaks the (partisan)walls down and we figure out where we can mitigate this from happening,” said Moskowitz.

When asked how a divided Congress could come together to reach a middle ground on the school safety issue, Rep. Diaz-Balart said that both Republicans and Democrats needed to put aside highly divisive and controversial issues like gun bans in order to come to a consensus.

“It's tempting to want to just go out on the political issues knowing, by the way, everybody knows that if you if that's where you go you're not going to get anywhere,” said Rep. Diaz-Balart.  “The question is, can we all of us Republicans and Democrats try to put aside some of those more contentious issues?You can keep that debate going, that's fine, but while you do that put some of those aside so that we can figure out where in that center we actually agree on some things that will actually make the difference.”

Rep. Bowman told The Floridian that just about everything option that had to do with the school shooting and school safety was discussed, including gun bans, universal background checks, universal safe storage, and hardening schools.

“This was the first conversation after the visit right so they got to go back to leadership, we gotta go back to leadership. Democrats we really consistent with where we stand on things and they kinda consistent on where they stand on things,” said Rep. Bowman

“We’re going to work on the bill together without any poison pills. There's always something that we slip in or they slip in that kills the bill for the majority of a party.

Bowman added that everyone was in agreement that “poison pills” should not be par of the conversation, but that  they all had to make the starting point for the overall conversation on what they all agreed on.

“Let’s start where we agree,” added Bowman.

Republican Rep. Rutherford, a retired Police Chief, focused on the failure by the Stoneman Douglas High School school resource officer to do his job.

Rep. Rutherford contends that the officer’s only job was to engage the active shooter and “pin him down” so that he didn’t would stop shooting students.

“Even in this situation, where the school's not been hardened,  if the school resource officer had done his job, Oh my God, that's the most disgusting thing to me as I walked through that building, was thinking all you had to have was one officer—I don't expect them to go over there and engaging and try to take him just go in there and pinning down. That’s your job, you pin him down,” said Rutherford

There has not been a date announced for the next congressional tour of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, nor has a date been set for future congressional discussion on school safety.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of,,, and He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at

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