school safety

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.  

Memorials for the students who perished during the Parkland School shooting.
WLRN

There were plenty of missteps in communication, security and school policy before and during the Florida high school massacre that allowed the gunman to kill 17 people. Now, the state commission investigating the shooting will consider a long list of recommendations addressing these problems statewide.

It's been a little over eight months since the shooting that took 17 people’s lives in Parkland. 

At a roundtable in Coral Springs City Hall on Wednesday, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and South Florida Congressman Ted Deutch met with grieving alumni, parents and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

Updated 10/16 at 1:30 p.m.

Duval County public high schools will probably have walk-through metal detectors for checking students for weapons later this school year, according to the district's police director Micheal Edwards at a school board workshop Tuesday.

Lawmakers Buy Industry Fix To Protect Schools From Guns

Oct 3, 2018
Memorials for the students who perished during the Parkland School shooting.
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.

Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano stands by his decision to keep funds in the so-called Guardian program.

This comes after Governor Rick Scott asked the Legislature to move the remaining funds to school districts so they can hire more officers.

Memorials for the students who perished during the Parkland School shooting.
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.

State lawmakers are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the state's long-term financial outlook. Also notable is what's not on the agenda.

Gov. Rick Scott recently asked legislative leaders to give school districts another shot at money some of them rejected because they didn't want to arm school staff. The Joint Legislative Budget Commission — chaired by House and Senate leaders — won't consider his proposal.

As students across Florida start the new school year, incoming Senate President Bill Galvano wants lawmakers to think about expanding the school-safety efforts approved during the 2018 legislative session after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

More Than 20 Districts Move Forward With ‘Guardians’

Aug 16, 2018
LESLIE OVALLE / WLRN

About a third of Florida’s school districts are taking steps to deploy armed “guardians” on school campuses to prevent incidents such as mass shootings, according to the state Office of Safe Schools.

By law, all schools in Florida are required to employ a sworn officer or trained guard by the first day. With not enough guards hired, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is assigning officers to fill the gap.

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