PARKLAND, Fla. (PRWEB) June 27, 2018
Ray Feis, brother of the late Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School coach and celebrated hero Aaron Feis, spoke out in his first interview on Monday. Feis sat down with anchor Rudabeh Shahbazi of CBS News 4 Miami for the exclusive, where he applauded the actions of Feis and other coaches who died defending students, criticized organizations who took no action when alerted to prior actions of the shooter, and called for significant changes in the Broward County School System.
Describing Aaron as his own "protector" and a "father figure," and a caring mentor who made sure students had lunch and even bought them shoes when needed, Feis said he was not surprised that his brother rushed to shield students during the mass shooting on February 14, 2018, even though it meant losing his own life. Aaron Feis, along with fellow coaches Chris Hixon and Scott Biegel, died while trying to stop the shooter, a former student. In all, 17 people were killed in the massacre and many more injured. Feis stated that on the day of the shooting, Aaron, as well as Hixon and Biegel, did what they did every day - make sure the kids were safe.
Ray Feis pointed out that the shooter, "an individual with documented mental health issues," had multiple encounters with law enforcement, administrators and others, while exhibiting violent, anti-social and bizarre behavior, but he "just kept getting passed over." Feis criticized the multiple agencies which had previously been made aware of these issues and noted that "no one wanted to do the right thing."
In the interview, Feis advocated that more attention should be focused on students with mental health issues in the Broward County Public School System, "so other potential shooters do not slip through the cracks." He also told Shahbazi that Aaron, among others, had repeatedly tried to get help for the shooter, but that "the teachers and staff don't have the amount of backing that they actually need."
Feis ultimately points to a failure in leadership as the reason for the systematic breakdowns that resulted in Aaron and 16 others being killed at Stoneman Douglas. Feis has called for Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie, as well as Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, to step down while their departments are being investigated.
Feis has publicly endorsed Broward County School Board candidate Richard Mendelson, who was one of Aaron's best friends. Feis believes Mendelson is the best person for the job, due to his background in security, PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and extensive experience as a coach and educator at Stoneman Douglas High School.
Mendelson has become a symbol of change in the Broward County School Board race. His platform emphasizes school safety, hardening of schools, fair pay for teachers, and accountability - all of which Ray Feis believes are now lacking.
For more information on School Board Candidate Richard A. Mendelson, Ph.D., please visit: http://www.mendelsonbcps6.com/.