NewsPolk County


Parkland shooting victim's father sworn in as honorary guardian

Ryan Petty completed weeks of training
Posted at 10:28 PM, Jul 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 00:22:18-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- The father of a Parkland shooting victim becomes an honorary Polk County School Guardian.

Ryan Petty completed weeks of training and was sworn in by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on Thursday evening.

"There is nothing I can do to bring my daughter back, but I know she would want me to do make sure that this doesn’t happen to any other child," said Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty.

Petty's daughter, Alaina, died in the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day in 2018.

He wants to advocate for putting "armed guardians" inside classrooms. He wanted to complete the training to learn more about the program.

Sheriff Judd said Petty excelled on academic tests and at the gun range.

"Out of every 100 people that apply to be a guardian, only about 20 make it," said Sheriff Judd.

"Ryan loved his daughter but he loves all the children. He’s doing everything he can to make sure no other child suffers a death at school the way his daughter did," added Sheriff Judd.

In May, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill to add trained teacher volunteers or trained guardians in every school.

The Florida Legislature approved last year to increase school security.

"I want to see the culture in our school districts change. One of the responsibilities they have is to make sure our kids and the staff, teachers are safe," said Petty.

Four Polk County school guardians were sworn in on Thursday along with Petty. They will work at charter schools in Polk County.

"They're going to wear plain clothes. We don’t want the evil people to know who they may be," said Sheriff Judd.

Petty wants to be an advocate for the guardian program. He wants to make a difference in schools across the state after losing his daughter.

"She wanted to be everyone's friend and she tried to be everyone's friend. She taught me a lot and I’m grateful for the 14 years we had," said Petty.

"Ryan Petty not only completed all of our classroom training and firearms qualifications to be sworn in as an honorary Polk County School Guardian, he excelled in every area. We are truly in awe of his commitment to this program and his level of expertise. He would make a great guardian anywhere in the state," said Sheriff Judd.