A student who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said he refused to attend CNN’s town hall on the massacre because he was asked to read scripted questions.
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted,” junior Colton Haab told ABC affiliate Local 10 News Wednesday.
U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson attended the town hall, held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. Broward County Sheriff Scott Isreal and National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch also heard from survivors.
But Haab, a 17-year-old Junior ROTC member, who used Kevlar sheets to shield his classmates from gunfire declined an invitation to the event.
“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” he told Local 10 News.
The teenager hoped to provide suggestions for improving school safety, including using veterans as armed security guards at school.
But he said he wasn’t allowed to voice his opinions.
“I don’t think that it’s going to get anything accomplished. It’s not going to ask any of the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have,” Haab told Local 10 News.
CNN denied providing Haab, or any survivors with scripted questions.
“There is absolutely no truth to this,” CNN said in a statement on Twitter. “CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night’s town hall, nor have we ever,” the network said.
“After seeing an interview with Colton Haab, we invited him to participate in our town hall along with other students and administrators from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” CNN’s statement continued.
“Colton’s father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected. We welcome Colton to join us on CNN today to discuss his views on school safety.”
No other students said that CNN provided them with questions.