A student survivor of last week's mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school said he was asked by CNN to "write a speech and ask questions" for a town hall but declined to attend the event after "it ended up being all scripted," a claim the network is pushing back on.
"CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted," Colton Haab told WPLG-TV, an ABC affiliate in Miami.
"I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions," said Haab.
"I don't think that it's going get anything accomplished," he concluded. "It's not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have."
The WPLG-TV report said Haab wanted to ask a question about using veterans as armed security guards as a deterrent to school shootings.
CNN aired the live town hall, "Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action," from the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on Wednesday night. The discussion included Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats face bleak outlook in Florida The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit Poll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field MORE (R-Fla.), Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Climate change turning US into coffee country Elon Musk mocks Biden for ignoring his company's historic space flight How will Biden's Afghanistan debacle impact NASA's Artemis return to the moon? MORE (D-Fla.), Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchOvernight Defense & National Security — Iron Dome funding clears House House passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Hoyer tells Israel removal of Iron Dome funding is 'technical postponement' MORE (D-Fla.) and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch.
"There is absolutely no truth to this," Richard Hudock, CNN's senior manager of public relations, said in a statement provided to The Hill. "CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night's town hall, nor have we ever."
"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," Hudock said. "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," he said.
Haab is a member of the junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps and shielded other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students while the shooter went on his rampage, according to a CNN report after the shooting last week.
Haab reportedly "ushered 60 to 70 people to shelter in an open Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps room" and used "Kevlar sheets generally used for the Junior ROTC marksmanship program" to hide and shield those in the room from the shooter and possible gunfire.
"We took those sheets, and we put them in front of everybody so they weren't seen, because they were behind a solid object and the Kevlar would slow the bullet down," Haab told CNN at the time.
"I didn't think it was going to stop it, but it would definitely slow it down to make it from a catastrophic to a lifesaving thing," he added.
Haab said he also believed that assistant football coach Aaron Feis, who was killed in the shooting while shielding students from the shooter, could have "stopped the threat" if he was armed.
"If coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he could have most likely stopped the threat," Haab told Fox News on Feb. 17.
Updated at 8:37 a.m.