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Another father of slain Parkland student named to Florida’s Board of Education

Tampa Bay Times logo Tampa Bay Times 1/21/2020 By Emily L. Mahoney, Tampa Bay Times

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Ryan Petty, the father of a student killed in the 2018 Parkland shooting, to Florida’s State Board of Education on Tuesday, filling a vacancy that’s been open for a year.

Petty, a senior executive of Cable & Wireless Communications, has been active in government since his daughter, Alaina, was among the 17 people murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018. He came to Tallahassee to lobby state leaders to pass a landmark bill responding to Parkland, and he was later named to serve on the commission charged with analyzing the tragedy and making recommendations to lawmakers.

He also ran for a seat on the Broward County School Board, but lost.

Petty is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, and like Trump, is outspoken on Twitter. During his race for school board, the Sun Sentinel noted that Petty has made several controversial tweets, including some that disparaged public schools or took jabs at public employee unions. At the time, Petty told the newspaper that he regretted some of the tweets but others were taken out of context.

A different Parkland father, Andrew Pollack, was appointed to the Board of Education by then-Gov. Rick Scott, as part of a slew of appointments made shortly before Scott left office. He served in that capacity for one meeting, before DeSantis retracted 46 of Scott’s appointments in January 2019.

Pollack’s seat has remained empty since then, and he has since moved to Oregon.

Petty’s appointment must be confirmed by the Florida Senate.

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©2020 the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

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