Anthony Borges, a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was released from the hospital on Friday.
Borges was shot five times during the massacre. According to reports, he was shot while barricading a classroom door to protect his classmates from the killer, who tragically took the lives of 17 people at the school.
But upon his release on Friday, Borges had one heck of a message for Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and his school district’s leaders.
What did he say?
Alex Arreaza, an attorney representing Borges and his family, read a prepared statement from his client. The statement heavily criticized the Broward County Sheriff’s Office for a humiliating series of failures that Borges claimed allowed the shooing to happen.
“I know I’ve been called Iron Man. And while I’m honored to be called this, I am not. I’m a 15-year-old who’s been shot five times, while Broward Sheriff’s deputies waited outside and decided that they weren’t going to come in the building,” Arreaza said from the statement, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Then the statement turned toward Israel and district superintendent Robert Runcie, criticizing a policy that allowed the killer to not be arrested despite numerous warning signs he would act on his threats.
“I want to thank you for visiting me in the hospital. But I want to say that both of you failed us students and parents and teachers alike on so many levels,” Borges’ statement read.
“I want to ask you today to please end your policy and agreement that you do not arrest people committing crimes at our schools. I want all of us to move forward and end the environment that allowed people like [the killer] to fall through the cracks,” the statement said.
“You knew he was a problem years ago and you did nothing,” it added. “He should have never been in school. I ask you today to make a commitment to protect the students and teachers and provide a safe learning environment. People are tired of empty promises that allow this environment to remain.”
In addition, Borges’ family criticized Israel for taking pictures with Borges when he visited the injured student in the hospital and then posting them to social media.
“The family is still upset about it,” Arreaza said. “They didn’t appreciate it.”
Borges’ family was the first to sue the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and school district over the shooting and the institutional failures that seemingly allowed it to happen.
More than $800,000 has been raised through a GoFundMe campaign to help Borges recover.