Parents, students, teachers reveal toll of school violence

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," February 21, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: All right, you've been watching President Trump host an unprecedented and extraordinary roundtable on school violence and the shootings. Many people there in attendance had either been at a school shooting or they lost their loved ones in the school shootings.

One of the great powers of the presidency is the power to convene. And this is something we have not seen before, especially on this issue, where you had such raw emotion, outpourings of grief. The president listening super intently to all of them, asking about ideas. It was a very emotional and moving day.

But it also gave you some hope that there could be some achievement going forward. The president said he's going to have them back and that they would be coming back in a much better light, meaning that hopefully that their grief would hopefully subside because the government, the president says, is going to act.

Let me take it around the table here. And Jesse Watters, I'll start with you for your thoughts.

JESSE WATTERS, CO-HOST: America has reached a tipping point on school violence. Some of us were tearing up watching the exchanges. It was really a raw and organic and powerful moment.

The president, we know, takes in information verbally. That's how he takes his briefings. You know he was very impacted when he saw the pictures of the Syrian children gassed. And this was, I think, a moment for him to really take it all in and listen.

He talks about being a protector. Protecting the border, protecting jobs, and it's now up to him to do whatever he can to protect the schools.

And a lot of politicians are all talk and no action. And he's not one of them. I believe. But he wants to take action that's going to have an impact, not just empty action that's not going to solve any problems.

He talked about making America great again, but when I interviewed him, he talked about making America safe again. And one of the things that needs to be addressed is school safety.

The best moment, I believe, Andrew Pollack, who stood up. I believe he lost his daughter Meadow, said forget about the gun issue right now. Let's focus first on making schools safe.

And there were some great exchanges of ideas: arming teachers at schools, mental institutions, enhanced background checks. I mean, this kid has been suspended how many times? No one really intervene.

My father ran a school out in Long Island. After Sandy Hook, they built fences around the school, because you can't have people just wandering into a school. A lot of the teachers and administrators from some of the urban areas, they have metal detectors and checkpoints which are extremely effective. So that's something to look at, too.

And another great moment, I thought, was when a guy, I believe from Sandy Hook, one of the fathers said we stopped relying on Washington to fix everything, and we did it ourselves. And we really trained teachers to intervene when they saw students with problems and then take action aggressively.

The best moment I think, though, too, at the end, the guy just said, listen, we've lost our connections as humans, as Americans. We don't recognize people anymore. We don't see things. We miss signs. And that's the bottom line. When you see something, say something. Americans, we're all one nation. And you just have to care for one another. And I think this is really a starting point for some strong action.

PERINO: The president talked about, Greg, some concrete things that, obviously, he's thinking about. One, it was the age at which you can buy a gun that is set federally. He talked about background checks, concealed carry. He mentioned it several times. And that would be people in a school that would have a gun, but you wouldn't know where that might be.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Yes. I mean, the interesting thing for me, not just the suggestions but the tone and tenor of this conversation is incredibly important, because you know, we make jokes about the president viewing his administration as a talk show. Well, so what? That was one hell of a talk show. Because you've got a bunch of different opinions and a bunch of people sitting there who know the topic and know the topic intimately and expressed suggestions, practical solutions about a horrible problem.

And my advice always stands. The biggest obstacle in this debate is trust. The loudest voices do not trust each other. Those were not the loudest voices. Those were the voices that you had to listen to. And what you found there were people who disagreed, but they disagreed civilly.

And you know, I was just moved. I thought that this was probably one of the most valuable things I've seen in this administration.

I also, to Jesse's point, the thing that got to me was Darrell Scott talking, his daughter died in Columbine.

PERINO: No, just recently.

GUTFELD: Darrell Scott. Yes, yes, yes,

PERINO: Darrell Scott, he's part of the Rachel's Promise.

GUTFELD: His point was about connection. And what we saw there was connection. We're too busy, in this world of division right now. And what group do you belong to, and the tribal -- the tribalism that infects everything from politics to identity. And what he was trying to say is, you know, we need to connect. We connect in broadband. That's not the real thing. We have community.

And the thing is community means interaction between police and the people they police. It's a community. It's at sporting events, it's at schools. People need to know who's in their community and need to be confident enough.

And I think that there was -- there was a binder full of practical solutions there that could be acted upon. And they were presented in a way that was nonthreatening to either side, and that's what communication and connection is about.

PERINO: I didn't mean to interrupt you, but we do have this sound bite from Darrell Scott.


PERINO: In case you didn't hear it earlier. Let's listen.


DARRELL SCOTT, FATHER OF COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL VICTIM: I just want to share one simple principle with you that we've learned over the years as we worked with millions and millions of young people. And it comes from something you said last week in your speech. And it was that we must create a culture of connectedness. We must create a culture in which our classmates become our friends.

Every single one of these school shootings have been from young men who are disconnected. And we talk a lot about the mental health issues, but it actually goes deeper than that, because there's a lot of mentally ill children that are kind and compassionate. The focus really needs to be on how can we connect.


PERINO: I think that was powerful for a lot of people. Greg brought that up. We wanted to play that sound bite for you. And Juan, we'll get your reaction.

WILLIAMS: So I think today is a wonderful day in terms of people hearing voices.

Earlier today, you had the students from Parkland who went to Tallahassee to the state capital in Florida. They are arguing there that, again, we need action. They're tired of the status quo. And it an amazing turnout. In fact, I was struck by the idea that these are people who are 15, 16 years old. Most of them were not seniors. In fact, some of them were high school freshman, but they spoke with such passion, some of them choking back tears to try to express not only their fears but, you know, what they had lost.

And similarly, I think at the White House meeting, the ability to hear from young people really strikes me as what's different. It changes the conversation, because you can say, "Oh, well, these young people don't have any really concrete ideas or better ideas." But I think that they are touching something in the American spirit and saying that we have to find a solution.

So when you listen to what was being said, for example, at the White House meeting. Which, you know, I think it certainly has its publicity angle. I don't think that's where you really get solutions. I think what you hear there is that this goes beyond schools. That people who are saying, you know, my kid's walking home from school or my kid's walking over to an A.P. program or my kid's waiting at the bus stop. And there are just so many guns around. So how do we deal with that? How do you stop that? That's the challenge.

But as someone said, we have tons of ideas for solutions. The American people, gun owners and non-gun owners, NRA and non-NRA, agreed basically on background checks, limiting weapons that become weapons of mass destruction. People agree on arguments about gun safety and preparedness and waiting periods. These are all very concrete ideas that are there.

On the mental health side, I think that woman who stood up and said very quickly most people who have mental health issues are not the ones who are shooting up the place. And that is really a dodge from the difficult issue of dealing with the fact that we have a proliferation of guns, more guns than people in our country. It's crazy.

PERINO: Kimberly, I'll give you a chance to remark on anything you want.


You know, it's interesting. When I listened today to the students expressing themselves so passionately and eloquently, saying that they wanted to do something about this, that it was the passion and cause of their life, that they weren't going to forget it so that students can go into schools safe.

We owe that to the children, the students of America, to make sure that when they go through the school doors in the morning and the bell rings to go sit and pay attention in class, that they're able to pay attention to the lesson and not worry about a gunman coming through the door to kill them.

And I want to take a moment to honor the lives of those that were lost and those that gave their lives trying to save others. And in particular, yes, we talked a lot about the coach who was incredible and all the people that showed incredible valor in the face of tremendous adversity. And instead of cowering in fear, they ran towards to try to save lives, like the junior ROTC members that were absolutely so incredible. Peter Wang, 15 years of age. Alaina Petty, 14 years of age. And Martin Duquesne, also 14.

Imagine being that young and having the presence of mind and selflessness to say that "I'm going to stand in the way so that others may live." That I think...

PERINO: Yes. Remarkable training, too, from the ROTC.

GUILFOYLE: Absolutely. And imagine if all the students were equipped with that kind of training and that we gave them the means by which to protect themselves and we actually made schools a place where people said, "You know what? I'm not going to go there to commit an act of violence, because it will not be allowed. I will not be able to permeate there and go and do something and commit these horrific acts, because they are protected."

GUTFELD: You know what the media did about that? They blamed the ROTC.

PERINO: They did?

GUTFELD: That the killer was also trained.


GUTFELD: So instead of what Kimberly...

PERINO: Right.

GUTFELD: ... acutely pointed out. That Peter Wang, who was -- West Point, I guess, has admitted him. The three -- the three junior ROTC cadets or maybe it was just Peter Wang. But three died.

GUILFOYLE: Well, he wanted to go to West Point.

PERINO: Yes, they gave him a posthumous...


PERINO: ... entrance into the academy.


PERINO: We actually have the sound from Andrew Pollack, whose, as Jesse mentioned, daughter Meadow died last week on Wednesday, just a week ago today. Can we play that?


ANDREW POLLACK, DAUGHTER KILLED IN PARKLAND SHOOTING: My daughter has no voice. She was murdered last week, and she was taken from us. Shot nine times on the third floor.

I'm very angry that this happened, because it keeps happening. Nine-eleven happened once, and they fixed everything. How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me.

It should have been one school shooting, and we should have fixed it. And I'm pissed. Because my daughter I'm not going to see again. She's not here. She's not here. I didn't think it was going to happen to me. If I knew that, I would've been at the school every day if I knew it was that dangerous. It's enough. Let's get together, work with the president and fix the schools.


PERINO: His passion is certainly evident, Jesse, but also to have the ability to come to the White House with your sons, and to articulate yourself that well and say that you're committed to making sure it doesn't happen again was a very strong moment.

WATTERS: Very strong. He really lit a fire under the president. That was the moment, I think, of the entire event that people really began to think this is never going to happen again. You can never listen to someone talk like that that passionately and then forget it a few weeks later.

Said something else pretty interesting to me. We protect everything we value in this country with guns. We protect banks. We protect politicians. We protect celebrities. We protect congressmen. Everything we value, we protect with guns.

PERINO: Airports.

WATTERS: Why don't we protect our children with guns?

And the 9/11 analogy is really critical. Every school shooting is a mini- 9/11 for that school and for those families and those communities. And to have it happen over and over and over again, we've just reached critical mass in this country. And I think this is going to be the moment.

PERINO: What about that tipping point, Greg? Do you think culturally, it is something where you'll see maybe it will be difficult to get the legislation through, but it will happen this year?

GUTFELD: I don't know. I mean, we live in a strange time where the news has accelerated so quickly that there are things. I mean, I'm still -- like, we don't know what happened in Vegas. Like, this -- this thing was utterly preventable. Obviously, we saw how many mistakes. But we still don't know anything about the Vegas thing.

WATTERS: And bump stocks are still OK.

GUTFELD: Yes. And the thing is, I don't think there was a possible way you could have stopped Vegas, because we don't even know how long he planned. When somebody plans something, it's going to happen. Three years -- if somebody is smart and has a plan.

Look, I've said this before. You know, 9/11 was the second time, right? It was the second attack on the World Trade Center. They went back and they planned. They tried it once and then they came back and they did it again.

As long as there's evil in the world, there will be these incidents, and we can't expect them to disappear like that.

However, I will say this. This is -- these practical solutions are actually practical. I didn't hear -- I heard a motion, but I also heard rationality.


GUTFELD: It wasn't simply people shouting "Do something."

PERINO: Or "Ban guns."

GUTFELD: "Ban guns." What you heard were people that were actually expressing practical, rational solutions to a problem. And that is already, in my mind, progress and we're actually talking about it.

And I would -- I would suggest that something like this. I haven't seen anything like this before. But a town hall like this, pertaining to other issues like this, where people are intimately involved, involving the president, is an interesting thing and could be something that -- again, I go back to Donald Trump. You know, his presidency is a talk show. Maybe that's not so bad, because that's the talk show you need.

JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: Well, see, I don't agree. Because I think you're going to need to have some kind of resolution with the right-wing talk show hosts and the NRA, the people who will say, 'You're taking away my guns."

GUTFELD: That goes back to the trust issue, which I think...

WILLIAMS: When you have a meeting like this, it's terrific in terms of having a cathartic moment. And I think for all of us as a country to have -- to hear the pain in the families, to understand, as we were saying, that this is like a 9/11. It's your child, it's your family. That man standing up there saying he'll never see his daughter again. Why didn't we fix this? That's powerful stuff.

But in terms of actually resolving it, I think you've got to get people together who will say, "Let's not. Gentlemen, or ladies, we're going to have to make a deal here."

PERINO: Well, I'm going to have to stop you there. We'll have more on the president's listening session on gun safety when "The Five" returns. Stay with us. We'll be right back.



BRANDON THOMPSON, DEAN OF STUDENTS, FRIENDSHIP TECH PREP: We actually have checkpoints. When a student walks in the door, we actually have metal detectors. And we actually have an X-ray machine that students put their bags through.

And extreme -- an activist, as it happened, a parent who didn't so much agree with that at first, sent me an e-mail saying, "Thank you, because now I see exactly what's happening."

And so we oftentimes use that TSA model. When a student comes in, we have somebody at the door to greet them, to do a check-in just to see how they feel. And we have certain point people. I know this person is not feeling so well, so they won't get past point one. They go through the metal detector. Their bag goes through the machine.

And so at the end of the day, just talking to my students riding over today, they all say, "Well, I feel safe."


PERINO: So that was Brandon Thompson, Greg. He's from Friendship Tech Prep, which is in southeast D.C. And, you know, he was talking about how their school, they have had metal detectors for a long time. We don't have that all across the country, but yet another possible, practical solution that was brought up.

GUTFELD: Yes, and it sticks to the idea of hardening soft targets as an industry. We have -- we have metal detectors at FOX. And there are metal detectors in -- you can't walk -- I'm fairly certain you can't walk in with a weapon in FOX News.

WILLIAMS: Where do we have metal detectors?

GUILFOYLE: Where are the metal detectors?

GUTFELD: I'm assuming we do. Maybe just for me.

WATTERS: You get a special pat-down.

GUTFELD: Let me put it this way: We have armed security.


GUTFELD: This is a hard target. This is a hard target.

It should be a trillion-dollar industry, because powerful industries are hardening already. Why are -- why are not our public places like schools hardening? You have 3,000 people at a place, they deserve to be protected. And I think if it's metal detectors, I think if it's security, I think if it's concealed carry, all of that stuff. It's all about hardening soft targets.

When that happens, however, another soft target will develop, because people move to the easiest target. But then you just adapt and change.

WILLIAMS: I think the softest target, you know, as someone said, the worry away from school.


WILLIAMS: To me the biggest danger for me with guns is that some gang banger is going to shoot at somebody else or hit my family.

GUTFELD: You're absolutely right. Or handgun deaths, more by far, in a year then rifle. By far.

WILLIAMS: By far. Well...

GUTFELD: Seven thousand.

WILLIAMS: ... I don't know about the numbers on mass shootings. But I'm just saying on a personal basis.

GUTFELD: Seven thousand handgun deaths.

WILLIAMS: This is what scares me. And so when you hear people talk about this, you think, "Well, everybody's talking about, you know, what are we going to do?" How are you going to harden me walking out the door and going home?

PERINO: Well, you can't. You can't do everything, but I think that one of the things that this gentleman, Jesse, was saying is that at their school, because they have this protection going into the school. And they said also that they check in with people if they think they're having one of those days, and they're worried about it.

But then at least it gives the comfort to the students so that they can actually do what they're supposed to be doing at school, which is to learn.

WATTERS: Right. So there's no silver bullet here, obviously. There's going to be a whole array of solutions. And like Greg said, earlier, they're not going to completely ever prevent another shooting at a school.

But in inner cities, you know, you have these big, big school buildings. Architecturally, there's usually one or two doors to go in and out. So those checkpoints make sense to put a metal detector in.

In a -- maybe a rural school or something in the middle of Florida, you have a sprawling campus with lots of different entrances in different buildings. That's not a solution there. Maybe a solution there is to have an armed security guard or an armed head coach to intervene.

And I think the intervention thing here is the key. Is this kid should have been flagged. In freshman year, he should have been flagged. If you're suspended that many times, and you've had a mobile crisis unit called to the school to say this guy might hurt himself or somebody else. I don't know if he was suspended or expelled or transferred to another at- risk school. There are so many red flags here.

You have to put it into a centralized database and you have to make sure it gets into the FBI background check system, because this guy's threat matrix was through the roof. But honestly, the FBI dropped the ball twice on it.

WILLIAMS: All right. But No. 1, and this is something where Trump and I agree.

WATTERS: What's that?

WILLIAMS: No. 1 is that guy should not have been able to get a gun.

WATTERS: I agree.

WILLIAMS: He was too young.

WATTERS: No one with that profile should have ever been able to get an AR- 15.

WILLIAMS: Trump's looking at age, and I'm all for that.

GUILFOYLE: I think or get a gun.


GUILFOYLE: Forget an AR-15. Any gun.

WATTERS: A handgun, well, you have to be 21 to get a handgun. But absolutely no AR.


WATTERS: But you know what? The AR, if you bump it up to age 21, the AR is a very popular weapon. It's used in rural communities for targets, for big game, for small game, for sport, everything. And people like it, because it's stylish. You can customize it, personalize it. And it's very accurate.

If you ban an 18-year-old from getting an AR-15, what's going to stop him from going in with a shotgun or a long rifle? I mean, it's not -- it's not the perfect solution, but I'm definitely open to the idea of raising the limit to 21.

WILLIAMS: I'm just saying, as -- right. I'm just saying, I think the president has an idea here that I think is going to come to fruition which is that kid shouldn't have had a gun. So how could we -- what steps could we have taken -- could we have taken to prevent that young man from legally obtaining a gun? Illegal guns is another issue but let's just start with that.

GUILFOYLE: That's No. 1.

GUTFELD: We talked about this. You -- the defensive position, how do you rig the system to keep the guns away, is wrong. The offensive -- the offensive strategy is to tag the perp so he doesn't get the gun, and that's where you look, where you have school officials, you have police, you have students. There's a database. There's a person there that's a problem. They go into the database; they don't get a gun. That's an offensive strategy that leaves law-abiding gun owners alone...


GUTFELD: ... and goes after the felons and the sick.

PERINO: Can I ask Kimberly something?

WILLIAMS: But you know a lot of people object. They say why is my name being put in there? And so if I have...

PERINO: There are going to be objections.

WILLIAMS: Yes, if I go to a shrink or whatever.

PERINO: Right. Kimberly, I want to ask you, just from a law enforcement standpoint, so for the kid, the shooter, flagged several times. Is there a point you think, is it a federal law or is it a state and local law that would allow law enforcement to intervene earlier?

GUILFOYLE: I think you have to probably have both, as you see. Because there has to be some control and autonomy at a local, a state level. Local ordinances to make sure that they have the tools that they're equipped with.

Look, I think there should be metal detectors at school. Why not? Look at the schools that have the metal detectors. I mean, this isn't that difficult to figure out.

And it's not just about making sure that guns don't get in the wrong hands. It's about protecting the environment. It's about saying that how many times you have to learn the same lesson over and over and over again. Schools are a target.

Why? Because we have continued to allow them to be. We have not allowed the schools to equip themselves and protect themselves and protect the students. Why not?

I can go and fly on a plane tonight and go through TSA and go through all kinds of stuff, but a child goes to school and there are no protections in so many places. And I think it's unacceptable.

Because believe me, if somebody is hell-bent on going in and killing and taking lives, they will find a way and a means to do it. And you can focus and get hypersensitive about the AR-15, or you can talk about how we can prevent this from happening in general. And it is really multifaceted in terms of the approach and the platform that is needed.

So if you are just focusing on "Oh, we need to ban guns. We need to do this," then you are really missing a large part of the problem here.

PERINO: Greg, what about the possibility for technology to improve the ability to -- we think of metal detectors as being clunky and difficult to get through. A lot of false positives, walking back and through it. It slows you down. That's why people say they don't want metal detectors at subway stops.


PERINO: You don't want to be slowed down all the time. But is technology going to help us advance?

GUTFELD: I don't know. I think technology as it helps us advance also hurts us. When drones are married to other kinds of agents, that is going to be an issue in the future. Not simply just for the mass shooter aspect. For terrorism in general. So I think that it's a double-edged sword, and that is no pun intended.

WILLIAMS: You know what I worry about, about this, listening to Kimberly, movies. You go to the movies, you go to the basketball game, you go to the baseball game. Everywhere now there's going to have to be magnetometers. And I just think we're making the whole society into an armory to get away from the fact that no one wants to say, "Hey, we've got a problem with guns."

GUILFOYLE: Well, it's part of it, though.

WATTERS: There's not a lot of shootings at NBA games. There's a lot of shootings at schools. So you prioritize where the metal detectors go.

WILLIAMS: Columbine happened at a school, but I also think we had Aurora with the shooting at a movie theater.

GUILFOYLE: Right, because those are soft targets, too.

WILLIAMS: And I think we just had a shooting at a concert in Las Vegas.

WATTERS: Right. I think right now we're focused on schools.

WILLIAMS: I'm just saying...

GUILFOYLE: And at the Bataclan in Paris. These are universal issues.

WILLIAMS: Issues people don't want to deal with.

GUILFOYLE: OK, but I go down to pay a parking ticket ...

GUTFELD: What are we -- you keep saying people don't want to deal with it. We just watched people dealing with it.

GUILFOYLE: You go down to pay a parking ticket at court, and you make -- there's, you know, security there.

PERINO: We will have many, many days ahead of us to talk about this, an extraordinary day where we watched the president do this amazing town hall on school shootings.

That's it for us. Bret is up with much more reaction on the president's listening session.

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