school safety

A bill aimed at making Florida schools safer just passed a full chamber vote in the House. The proposal includes penalties for school officials and adds members to a school safety committee, among other changes.

In Broward County, a guard assigned to an elementary school leaves a loaded gun in his locked office. Near Orlando, a safe-school officer sends a nude video of herself to her husband from a school bathroom while on her lunch break. In Hillsborough County, a school guardian accidentally fires a bullet through a bathroom mirror while practicing for a firearms certification test.

Of all the mishaps, that last one raised the most alarms with a school safety consultant interviewed by South Florida Sun Sentinel reporter Skyler Swisher.

If another active shooting happens, lawmakers want schools to be equipped with a panic alert system. It would be activated through a mobile app. The push for this technology comes after the second anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Lawmakers Look To Ratchet Up School Safety

Feb 21, 2020
Sen. Manny Diaz Jr.
News Service of Florida

For the third time since the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida lawmakers are on the brink of passing legislation to try to bolster school safety.

Senators Back School Safety Measures

Jan 14, 2020

Nearly two years after the mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida senators on Monday started moving forward with additional school security proposals. 

Lawmakers Continue Grappling With School Safety

Jan 8, 2020

Nearly two years after a six-minute shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead and 17 others injured, the issue of school security continues to gnaw at Florida lawmakers. 

A series of polls from the St. Leo University Polling Institute shows that Floridians are deeply divided on some of the major issues that the state will face in the upcoming year. That sharp divide is reflected on how those polled feel about arming school teachers.

The poll shows half of those who responded oppose allowing teaches to carry weapons in classrooms. About 42 percent are in favor of the Florida law that allows classroom teachers to carry guns — if the teachers volunteer to do so.

On Friday’s Roundup we discussed school safety in Florida. Reporting by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel this week found that a disturbing number of violent threats against students and teachers come from mentally impaired children who are fixated on violence, and have easy access to guns.

Statewide Grand Jury Slams ‘Systemic’ School Safety Issues

Dec 13, 2019
Empty classroom with chalkboard on wall
Pixabay

A statewide grand jury has issued a report painting a dire picture of how Florida school districts are implementing security measures passed in response to a mass shooting at a Broward County high school nearly two years ago. 

In the more than 20 months since the deadly shooting in Parkland, the state has passed a number of laws to address school safety, including the controversial measure allowing teachers to be armed. 

School Safety Panel Focuses On Mental Health

Nov 1, 2019
Empty classroom with chalkboard on wall
Pixabay

A state commission tasked with making school-safety policy recommendations to the Florida Legislature approved a draft report on Thursday that will highlight a need for more mental health funding. 

Some Districts Back Armed Teachers, But Questions About Florida’s Guardian Program Remain

Sep 17, 2019
News Service of Florida

School districts in 11 Florida counties are open to training teachers to carry guns in schools as a defense tactic in case of shooting situations, according to an official with the state Department of Education. 

Empty classroom with chalkboard on wall
Pixabay

The Florida Department of Education was unable to confirm an independent survey that found seven of the state’s 67 school districts have approved or would consider arming classroom teachers under a controversial school “guardian” program. 

Senators Seek Update On School Safety

Sep 10, 2019
Empty classroom with chalkboard on wall
Pixabay

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.

State Education Officials Seek More Money For Safety Measures

Aug 22, 2019
Woman addressing classroom full of children
Wikimedia Commons

Florida education officials on Wednesday called on state lawmakers to boost spending on mental health services and armed security in schools, showing a continued focus on safety more than a year after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. 

In a final pitch to a Senate special master, former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s lawyer is insisting that the suspended law enforcement officer wasn’t to blame for two deadly mass shootings that led to his ouster by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year.

School Safety Panel Blasts Broward Schools Chief

Aug 16, 2019
Empty classroom with chalkboard on wall
Pixabay

Amid a growing backlash against charter schools without a long-term plan to have armed guards onsite, a state commission on Thursday pressured Broward County Superintendent of Schools Robert Runcie to shut down charters that have failed to meet the state mandate. 

Members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission expressed frustration Thursday with a new state Department of Education tool to assess threats at schools. The Florida Schools Safety Portal launched earlier this month, on Aug. 1. 

A state school-safety commission meeting got heated Wednesday as members tackled a range of issues stemming from a controversial school “guardian” program, while one panelist recommended allowing Florida preschools to have armed security.

Two months after the state reported nearly 200 schools did not have an armed resource officer as required by state law, members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission were frustrated to learn that more than two dozen Broward County charter schools lacked a long-term plan for the security guards.

Woman addressing classroom full of children
Wikimedia Commons

The State Board of Education is poised to consider new rules next week, including a requirement that all public schools begin teaching students each year about youth substance abuse. Schools would also be mandated to report the professional qualifications of people teaching the classes, according to the rule. 

Florida Officials Eye Safety, Mental Health Ahead Of School Year

Aug 9, 2019
Empty classroom with chalkboard on wall
Pixabay

With the start of a new school year just around the corner, Florida officials are eyeing policy changes that would expand the number of mental health professionals in schools and ensure that charter schools are meeting safety requirements. 

Company To Get $1.3 Million For School Safety Tool

Jul 11, 2019
School resource officer
Tampa Bay Times

By News Service of Florida

The Florida Department of Education will pay nearly $1.3 million to a company that will revise a tool used by all public schools to identify threats and vulnerabilities on campuses. 

Districts Could Be Called Out On School Safety

Jun 6, 2019
School resource officer
Tampa Bay Times

After a state commission found out Wednesday that nearly 200 schools --- including many charter schools --- have not had armed security as required by state law, commissioners urged the Florida Department of Education to “name names and name people” to try to force compliance. 

Florida Lawmakers Are Schooled On Student Safety In Israel

May 30, 2019

Randy Fine and Lauren Book may be on opposite ends of the political spectrum but they found some common ground in Israel on school safety issues.

Fine, a Republican from Melbourne Beach, and Book, a Democrat from Plantation, met with the retired head of the North Jerusalem Police Department and visited the A.D. Gordon public school in Tel Aviv this week on their trip.

Row of lockers
Pixabay

In two of the highest-profile issues of the 2019 legislative session, the Senate on Wednesday is slated to take up proposals designed to bolster school safety and build or expand three toll roads. 

Granting a request by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Supreme Court on Monday impaneled a statewide grand jury to investigate whether school districts are complying with mandatory safety requirements following last February’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

When Annabel Claprood walks into a room, the first thing she does is look for a place to hide.

The 17-year-old has practiced moving quickly from the driver’s seat of her car to the back, so she can’t be easily seen through the windows.

Her mother, Elyse Claprood, uses her cell phone to closely track her daughter’s location, feeling relief only when she confirms, yes, Annabel is at home. She’s at school. At the horse barn where she volunteers.

Safety concerns are growing after TPD released details from a case involving two elementary students who planned to murder their classmate. 

Row of lockers
Pixabay

With the annual legislative session nearing, lawmakers and education leaders likely will have to grapple with the fallout of Hurricane Michael on Northwest Florida school districts and continued questions about how to bolster school safety throughout the state.


  Jacksonville resident Kent Stermon is leading Florida Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis’ advisory committee on public safety.  

Pages