Over two and a half years ago, the Parkland school shooting shook Americans to their core and left a nation in mourning. On Feb. 14, 2018, students and staff members at a Parkland, Florida, high school were massacred by a gunman who took the lives of 17 people and injured 17 others.
Florida native Debra Hixon was one of the many people who were left shattered and heartbroken after the attack. Her husband, 49-year-old Christopher Hixon, was one of the victims of the school shooting. The athletic director tragically lost his life as he tried to shield his students from the gunman, leaving his wife Debra a widow.
The day after the attack, Twitter user @sahluwal posted about the courageous man who lost his life while trying to save others.
This is Chris Hixon, he’s 49 years old & was Parkland High School’s athletic director. Hixon served as a US Naval Reservist in 2007. He won a state championship in 2016. Hixon was protecting students when he was senselessly murdered in Florida. pic.twitter.com/qX7PpmQBwk
— Simar (@sahluwal) February 15, 2018
In the years following, Debra Hixon threw herself into ensuring that no other family would have to endure the grief caused by the senseless violence that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Hixon is now the vice president of 4FNOW (Fewer Firearms, Fewer Funerals), which is a group founded by the parents of Parkland shooting victims that buys back firearms from gun-owners in an effort to keep the community safer. She is also a board member of Stand With Parkland (a national organization led by Parkland families who seek to make schools safer for students and teachers).
Now, Debra Hixon can add “school board member” to her list of titles. This past election season, Hixon ran for a seat on the Broward County School Board in Florida. Hixon double-majored in education and biology at Florida State University and earned a BS in both subjects. She has been a teacher in Broward County for over three decades.
As for why she chose to run for the school board seat, Hixon was clear about her mission.
“After the shooting, I became an activist and spokesperson on reducing gun violence and school safety, working with Stand With Parkland to lobby our state and national leaders to pass laws for safer schools, responsible firearm ownership and better mental health services,” Hixon shared with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“When I learned the at-large seat would be open, I realized that with my 31 years of teaching experience in Broward public schools, my love for education, my desire to enhance school safety, teacher pay and respect, and my ability to bring stakeholders together, that I was the right person at this time to serve on the school board countywide.”
As the president of the Chris Hixon Athletic Scholarship, Hixon also oversees scholarships that help assist student-athletes access higher education. You can donate to support student-athletes — and Chris Hixon’s heroic legacy — here.
Congratulations to Hixon on her well-deserved victory in Broward County.