When children die, labels like Democrat and Republican should disappear. After the massacre at Sandy Hook, all citizens felt this need. The question became not whether to act, but how to act.
Yet when the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature sees Haile’s Law, a law that would save toddlers from baking to death in daycare vans, it refuses to act. It refuses to hear the screams of past victims like Haile Brockington, Dominicue “Paw-Paw” Andrews, and Jordan Coleman. It refuses to hear the cries of children who will die this summer without this law. It refuses to hear the solution.
Unlike gun violence, the solution to save these little angels who have burned to death in daycare vans is clear. Passing Haile’s Law would require alarms in daycare vans. These alarms would force drivers to go into the back of their vehicles to turn off the alarm. This common-sense requirement uses technology to ensure drivers go through the van and leave no child behind. Each alarm would cost between $250 and $400. To safeguard a van full of children, this is a small price to pay.
Without these alarms another child’s life is at risk. Already, delays in honoring Haile’s memory have needlessly robbed the Andrews and Coleman families of their children.
These families will never see their children with friends, graduate school, or marry and have a family of their own. Why refuse to protect future families from this horrible loss?
As lawyers our firm has represented three families with children who died in daycare vans. We applaud Democrats Rep. Lori Berman and Sen. Maria Sachs for sponsoring Haile’s Law. Rather than pass the bill, the Republican leadership in Florida’s Legislature has stonewalled it with silence. For years, these legislators have preferred to listen to lobbyists, paid to say that the cost of alarms to daycare owners outweighs the cost of innocent life.
Florida’s Republican leadership has done nothing to protect our children from hell on earth. Without action, more little angels will bake to death under the hot Florida sun. Their burnt bodies will be this Legislature’s legacy.
To justify its moment to future generations, this Legislature must act for the people, the party, and its own legacy. It must pass Haile’s Law.
Patrick S. McArdle, Sarasota
Andy Yaffa, Coral Gables