PARKLAND, Fla. – The brother of one of the victims of the Parkland school shooting said he was shut out of a speaking slot during Saturday's "March for Our Lives" event in Washington, D.C.
"I was going to give a speech about Meadow and how devastated I am and how we need to make change, but they won't allow me to put my voice out," said Hunter Pollack, whose sister, Meadow, was one of 17 people killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
Ryan Deitsch, one of the student organizers of 'March for Our Lives,' said Hunter Pollack was set to speak at the Washington rally as late as Saturday morning, even appearing on a printed schedule, but "he never showed up."
"We openly invited a lot of people, and some people just turned it down," Deitsch said.
Hunter's father, Andrew Pollack has been an outspoken supporter of increased school security and arming school employees under certain conditions. In TV interviews, Andrew Pollack has stressed the recent law enacted by Gov. Rick Scott -- which included the first major gun restrictions for Florida in more than a decade -- was a school safety bill, not a gun control bill.
Many of the student activist behind the 'March for Our Lives' event oppose arming school employees and have said that "hardening schools" makes them resemble prisons and hurts education. They support a broad range of new restrictions on weapons, including banning semiautomatic weapons such as the AR-15 rifle used by gunman Nikolas Cruz.
"We got denied to speak at the march so I'm not going to the march, I'm going to a lacrosse game," Andrew Pollack said. "I guess he's got a different agenda than their agenda so they denied him."
Asked whether the Pollack's differing views on gun control affected Hunter Pollack's speaking slot, Deitsch, a senior at Stoneman Douglas, said it was "not political whatsoever, he just wasn't there."
Hunter Pollack said he traveled to Washington to support his sister and to see history, but the experience left him disillusioned.
"I feel that they don't really care about the victims families. If they did, they would have let me spoken," he said in a video posted to Facebook Saturday. "I don't know what this is about, but it's definitely not about the victims."