Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Lawmakers Buy Industry Fix To Protect Schools From Guns

Oct 3, 2018
WLRN

Security companies spent years pushing schools to buy more products — from "ballistic attack-resistant" doors to smoke cannons that spew haze from ceilings to confuse a shooter. But sales were slow, and industry's campaign to free up taxpayer money for upgrades had stalled.

Tampa Bay school districts are working to implement new safety measures based on assessment feedback.

Pinellas County Schools

Children registering for school in Florida this year were asked to reveal some history about their mental health.

The new requirement is part of a law rushed through the state legislature after the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The state’s school districts now must ask whether a child has ever been referred for mental health services on registration forms for new students.

WLRN

False fire alarms at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been triggering memories of a mass shooting that killed 17 on Valentine's Day.

There's a new person in charge of emergency management in Broward County.

Tracy Jackson started as the director of regional public safety and emergency services at the end of May, days before this year's hurricane season began. In addition to hurricane preparation, he now oversees Broward's regional 911 system. 

Jackson began his career as a firefighter in the  Miami Fire Rescue Department in 1982. He was the division chief of support services during and after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, heading up logistics.

Judge Refuses To Scuttle NRA Lobbyist Case

Sep 12, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge has refused a request by a California man to dismiss part of a lawsuit in which the National Rifle Association’s longtime Florida lobbyist alleges she received harassing and threatening emails in the aftermath of the February mass shooting at a Broward County high school.

Commissioners investigating the Parkland school shooting said Thursday that law enforcement school resource officers, or SROs, should play a larger role at schools. 

Florida Sen. Lauren Book, who sits on the commission, asked the group to recommend that SROs be given access to students’ educational and disciplinary records. 

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s College of Education received a $2.2 million grant for a new statewide training program for K-12 schools.

USF St. Pete will work with the Florida Department of Education to help school personnel identify the signs of emotional distress, mental health difficulties and substance abuse disorders - then connect those students with resources.

Panel Eyes Officer’s Actions During Parkland Massacre

Sep 6, 2018
WLRN

Scot Peterson, the Broward County school-resource officer who was responsible for protecting students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has been subpoenaed to appear next month before a state commission investigating the Valentine’s Day massacre that left 14 students and three faculty members dead in one of the nation’s worst mass school shootings.

LESLIE OVALLE / WLRN

The Florida commission investigating February's high school massacre will discuss the role of campus police officers and changes to the state's mental health laws.

WLRN

The mother of a Florida high school massacre victim easily won a school board seat Tuesday, but the father of another victim was trailing an incumbent and a former teacher lost to another in an election seen as a referendum on district policies before and after February's shooting.

WLRN

Broward County school board races are usually niche affairs as passionate advocates futilely implore an indifferent public to care, even a decade ago when the nation's sixth-largest district was rocked by bribery and construction scandals.

On a recent Friday at Florida Atlantic University, Deb Del Vecchio-Scully began a lecture on trauma by asking an auditorium full of therapists to stand up and shake their bodies out like rag dolls.

"Do it with me," she said, as the room giggled and jiggled.

It was a light moment with a serious purpose. Del Vecchio-Scully explained that this was just one technique the therapists could offer a patient to help deal with the discomfort of traumatic stress.

Gov. Rick Scott is asking state lawmakers to redirect most of the money they allocated for arming and training school staff, since many districts didn’t want to use it.

The Legislature included $67 million in this year’s state budget for the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, which would allow for trained armed guards at schools. Named for a victim of the shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, the provision was the most controversial aspect of a larger, $400 million package passed quickly in response to the Feb. 14 massacre.

As students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School begin their first school year since a gunman opened fire on campus, they're returning to beefed up security including 18 safety monitors, new classroom locks and upgraded video surveillance.

A Broward County school board member says a recent comment she made about the 2017-18 school year was taken out of context. 

Parents of the victims of the Parkland school shooting claimed on Aug. 9 that board member Donna Korn recently said that last school year was the best Broward County has seen despite the massacre.

But in a release on Monday, Korn said soundbites of her statement from an interview during the State of the County address were cut short. She said her comment was actually praising the performance of Broward County's school principals. 

Across Florida, school is starting with new attention to school safety and security. In the Keys, that means more than increased police protection.

The gun legislation passed after the Parkland mass shooting was historic for many reasons, not the least of which was that it represented the first gun restrictions passed in Florida in more than 20 years. 

Slain Students’ Families Hammer School Board

Aug 10, 2018
WLRN

Family members whose loved ones were killed during a massacre at a Parkland high school in February slammed the Broward County School board for failing to make schools safe, just one week before classes begin.

WLRN

Prosecutors on Wednesday released hours of video interrogation of Florida's school shooting suspect, footage showing the young man slouching in a chair, being repeatedly urged by a detective to speak louder and punching himself in the face when he is alone.

Flickr

The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday at least temporarily blocked the release of surveillance video related to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, as a legal battle continues about whether the footage should be turned over to media organizations.

A panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal last month ruled that media organizations should receive the security-camera footage from the afternoon when a gunman killed 17 people at the Parkland school.

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, English teacher Sarah Lerner was displaced from her classroom. Now she’s going back.

Schools reopen in Broward County next week, and students are feeling anxious about returning after the deadly shooting that struck the district almost six months ago.

LESLIE OVALLE / WLRN

The state commission investigating the Florida school massacre will discuss improving campus safety and hear about education and health privacy laws.

WLRN

Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz told a detective that a demon in his head — "the evil side" — told him to burn, kill and destroy, and that he thought about going to a park to kill people about a week before 17 people were gunned down at the school, according to a recently released transcript of his interrogation.

A circuit judge ruled Friday that the Parkland school shooter’s education records should be made public.

Lawyers for 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz had attempted to block the release of the records, saying that making them public violated Cruz’s privacy rights and could affect his right to a fair trial.

Cruz’s attorney, Special Assistant Public Defender David Frankel, said releasing this report was only “self-serving” to the school district. 

WLRN

Metal detectors will not be installed for the start of classes at a Florida high school where 17 students and faculty were slain on Valentine's Day.

WLRN

A Florida school district is suspending its investigation into a school massacre, saying it conflicts with a state inquiry.

Leon County Schools has debuted its comprehensive school safety program to be implemented this school year. Many of the updates are mandated by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act passed last Session.

As the community around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prepares to go back to school, the Florida Counseling Association is hosting a free, two-day workshop focused on responding to communal trauma. The Friday event is tailored for mental health professionals, while the Saturday event is open exclusively to MSD staff.

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