Parkland parent confirmed for Florida education board
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The Florida Senate on Friday approved Ryan Petty, a school safety advocate who lost his 14-year-old daughter Alaina in the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, to serve on the state Board of Education.

Petty said Friday he appreciated the chance to serve on the board, aiding with education policies and regulations for schools throughout the state. Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantis Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death The battle of two Cubas Disney World plans to reopen in July MORE (R-Fla.) appointed him to the State Board of Education in January.

"I'm fully engaged and will move forward with a sense of urgency as Florida's students and educators deserve," he said in a statement reported by the Sun-Sentinel.

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The appointment was cause for alarm for some Democratic state senators, the Sun-Sentinel reported, as Petty first failed to win election to the Broward County School Board and faced scrutiny for past social media posts.

Sen. Perry Thurston (D-Fla.) said that there are better candidates for the job, citing Petty's past comments as "insulting" and "demeaning."

"Over the course of years, he has made insulting, sarcastic, demeaning remarks about blacks, about Jews, about Muslims, about Hispanics, about the LGBT community, liberals, individuals who are graduates of our public education system," he said.

Petty apologized for his past remarks in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel in 2018.

"I understand the concerns about the tweets when you look at them one at a time out of context," he said. "I have friends and family who are gay, Jewish, and other minorities. I love and respect and care about them and don't harbor any racism, anti-Semitism, or anti-anything."

Another state senator, Oscar Braynon (D), said voters did not think Petty should serve on the Broward County School Board, and therefore should not serve on Florida's Board of Education.

"We should respect the wishes of the people who actually live there with Mr. Petty," he said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

All senators in Broward County voted against the confirmation of Petty, except for state Sen. Lauren Book (D), who chose not to vote.

Petty is a member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, which works to investigate factors and discuss future preventions following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

He is also senior vice president of business-to-business products for Cable & Wireless Communications and formerly worked as vice president of product development and innovation at ADT Inc.