Santa Fe High School shooting victims honored in 'empty seat' school bus demonstration

Friday, July 15, 2022
Santa Fe shooting victims honored in school bus demonstration
A flood of school buses surrounded Sen. Ted Cruz's office to show how many children have been killed by guns since 2020. Among the victims honored were victims killed in the Santa Fe High School shooting.

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) -- A parade of yellow buses surrounded the office of Sen. Ted Cruz in Houston Thursday morning.

"There's nothing more iconic than the yellow school buses going to school," Rhonda Hart said, whose daughter, Kimberly Vaughn, was killed in the Santa Fe High School shooting in 2018.

Instead of going to school the buses parked in front of Cruz's office, as they held the cherished items and mementos left behind.

The 52 school buses represent the 4,368 children killed by gun violence in America since 2020.

"I chose her iconic girl scout sash," said Hart.

Her daughter was just 14 years old when she was shot inside her art class at Santa Fe High School.

"It just signifies making the world a better place," she said.

Fellow classmate Christopher Stone was also represented through his prized Dallas Cowboys jersey mounted and standing tall.

Dubbed the "NRA Children's Museum." the touring display is the brainchild of Manuel and Patricia Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was killed inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

"Joaquin was shot four times with an AR-15 almost five years ago," Manuel Oliver said.

In front of Cruz's office, they demanded change from the politician who has received at least $400,000 from the NRA, according to ABC News reports.

"And that's the reason why things don't move forward," Manuel Oliver said.

Cruz's office sent ABC13 this statement following the demonstration on Thursday, saying in part:

"Senator Cruz is committed to enacting policies that would stop school shootings."

Saying he has sought to increase school resource officers and mental health professionals, improve the background check system, and prosecute those who illegally buy guns.

Although, Cruz voted against the recent Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which would provide millions of dollars for each of these items.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn backed the bill that was passed in June.

"Thank you to John Cornyn, for stepping up and facilitating these conversations between the two parties," said Hart.

The NRA Children's Museum will continue rolling through America. The letters, homemade cards and favorite toys inside will visit the offices of politicians backed by the NRA.

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