SUNRISE, Fla. – A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student told Local 10 News that he declined an invitation to attend CNN's town hall on the Parkland school shooting after he was given scripted questions.
"CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted," junior Colton Haab said Wednesday night.
Haab wrote questions about school safety and suggested using veterans as security guards, but he claims CNN wanted him to ask scripted questions instead.
So, Haab said, he declined to participate.
"I don't think that it's going to get anything accomplished," Haab said. "It's not going to ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have."
CNN refuted Haab's claim Thursday morning.
"There is absolutely no truth to this," CNN said in a statement posted to its communications page on Twitter. "CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night's town hall, nor have we ever."
The 17-year-old Junior ROTC member told CNN that he used Kevlar sheets to shield students from the gunfire during last week's mass shooting that killed 17 people at the Parkland school.
CNN response to the claim of a "scripted question" for last night's town hall: pic.twitter.com/Mz1hMqqfkw— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 22, 2018
CNN held a town hall Wednesday night at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson attended, as did Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch.
"After seeing an interview with Colton Haab, we invited him to participate in our town hall along with other students and administrators from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School," CNN's statement went on to say. "Colton's father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected. We welcome Colton to join us on CNN today to discuss his views on school safety."
No other students have said they were given scripted questions.