Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Senators Seek Update On School Safety

Empty classroom with chalkboard on wall
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Senate Education Committee is scheduled next week to discuss how new school-security measures are being carried out by school districts, as lawmakers start holding committee meetings in advance of the 2020 legislative session.

Katie Betta, a Senate spokeswoman, said in an email that the purpose of the meeting is to provide an update on the implementation of major school-security bills passed in 2018 and 2019.

Those two measures, passed after the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, require all public schools to follow a number of security measures, including having trained, armed security personnel on site at all times.

Many schools --- particularly charter schools --- struggled to comply with that requirement until recently, according to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which was briefed on the matter last month.

The commission also learned about a private security company hired in Palm Beach County training and signing off on armed school security without meeting training requirements in state law.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the chairman of the commission, said the panel plans to push lawmakers to make it “unequivocally clear” that all safe-school officer training must be done by sheriffs --- and not a private company. The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, is scheduled to meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday.