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Widow of Florida high school massacre victim wins school board seat in Parkland election

She joins former teacher and athletics coach Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa was also killed in the February 14, 2018, shooting.

Widow of Florida high school massacre victim wins school board seat in Parkland election
Cover Image Source: Debbi Hixon for Broward County School Board

A longtime educator whose husband was killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, is set to become the newest member of the nine-person board that oversees the school. Debra "Debbi" Hixon, whose husband was among the 17 people murdered in the tragic incident, easily won a seat on the Broward County School Board on Tuesday in a two-candidate runoff. According to The Associated Press, she joins former teacher and athletics coach Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa was also killed in the February 14, 2018, shooting which shook the nation.

 



 

As per the Broward County Supervisor of Elections website, Hixon won more than 60 percent of the vote in her contest with Jeff Holness. Speaking to CNN affiliate WPLG-TV after the results came in on Tuesday, she said: "It means this county has confidence and faith in me, and that means so much because they have been really what's gotten our family through the last three years, and I am so honored to be able to serve them for the next four years on the school board." The longtime educator currently runs a maritime technology and marine science program at a suburban Fort Lauderdale high school.

 



 

Hixon's husband, Chris — who worked as the school's athletic director and wrestling coach — was struck down while trying to save students who were fleeing from the shooter, a former Stoneman Douglas student. The Navy veteran died the next day at the hospital. Speaking to PEOPLE two days after the shooting, Hixon said that she was experiencing a range of emotions after her husband's death, including sadness, anger, confusion, and pride. "I am torn," she said. "I am pissed off he did that because he left us, but knowing my husband, that’s just who he was."

 



 

 

"I knew he would be right there in the middle of what was going on as soon as I heard the shooting was happening. That was just who he was," Hixon added. "I’m beyond proud that he didn’t even think of himself in that moment — he just thought of the safety of everyone else. We love him for doing that." She also stated at the time that the shooting reflected a society-wide failure. "I don’t have any sympathy for the guy who did this, and I don’t know that I can ever forgive him," she said.

 



 

"But our system failed that kid — that’s why he got to where he is. It failed him. We don’t do things right for people who need help and we need to fix that," Hixon continued. "If someone had taken time early on in that kid’s life, he would have had the coping skills so he would not have thought that this was an option. He kept getting in trouble and they sent him to an alternative center, where they don’t necessarily provide the kind of services he needed. He needed someone to love him early on and he never got that. No one that is loved and has coping skills would ever think this is an option for what was bothering them."

 

 



 

 

Hixon and her son Corey appeared in a campaign commercial supporting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in September where she spoke of the compassion the former Vice President showed her son following his father's death. Seated beside Corey in the video, she said: "My husband, Corey's dad, Chris Hixon was one of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. I don't have it in me a lot of times to give him that comfort. So it meant a lot for somebody else to take that time and to care enough about him. [Biden] can be that person that can comfort our nation and bring us together."

 



 

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