9 Months After The Parkland Shooting, Here's What's Changed In South Florida Schools

Dec 4, 2018

It’s been almost 10 months since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In addition to the wave of student activism, there’s been an effort to understand the events that led to Feb. 14 massacre.

According to The Sun Sentinel, the Broward County school district knew more than it let on. It found the district hired lawyers and public relations consultants to keep information from the public. 

Here’s a statement to WLRN from Broward Schools:

We have a responsibility to adhere to what we are legally permitted to release and acknowledge that we may not have done it perfectly every time.

When it comes to navigating in an environment that is so highly sensitive, and one in which we are trying to be thoughtful while being thorough in our responses, if there have been shortcomings, it has never been our intention to mislead.

A state commission began its own investigation in April. And the FBI said it’s planning to upgrade its public tipline after the department mishandled warnings about the confessed shooter. 

Last week, Broward Schools also announced four Stoneman Douglas staffers were reassigned. Parents of the shooting victims see the reassignments as a step toward holding school district employees accountable for mistakes made before, during and after the shooting, such as leaving a school gate open or failing to call a code red when the shooting began.

"You know, I'm never going to see my kid again. And people need to be held accountable for their failures," said Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter Meadow in the shooting. "And for these teachers to be out there protesting for these administrators that failed me and the other families miserably leading up to the 14th and the 14th — it's a disgrace."

After the Parkland shooting, the state passed a law that requires an armed guard on every school campus and allowing school employees to be armed. 

We asked our listeners to text us about the changes in their schools since the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High. Here's what some of them had to say:

"Since the Parkland shooting, my school has added a fenced perimeter around the entrance past the parking lots. They force all students to wear IDs at all times or risk getting detentions or referrals. I don’t think that any of these things will really stop someone from getting in. The fence can be jumped, and the doors are unlocked during the day. Plus, if a person had a gun, not having an ID wouldn’t prevent them from entering. These tactics seem more like airport security than real security."

- Liam Fisher in Fort Lauderdale

"We have brought in an outside security company. Our campus gates are closed during certain hours. Students and staff have color-coded lanyards that must be worn. We have also implemented new lockdown/emergency plans and protocols this year. We have schoolwide drills regularly."

- Willi Harreys in Oakland Park

"My kids go to Avant Garde Academy Broward in Hollywood. It is a big charter school. I understand it's not a fully public school, but security measures should apply to any major school in my opinion. Nothing changed at that school at all. No security, all gates are open to anybody to come in. Kids open multiple doors from inside all day long and anybody can just simply walk in. My point – all schools need to improve, not just 100 percent public ones."

Raymond Dorell in Hollywood 

"The University Police department at Florida International University (FIU) has made it a priority to teach an Active Shooter Awareness & Preparation training for faculty, staff and incoming freshman students. For staff, the training is a full day typically 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. where hands-on training, like how to use tourniquets to treat bullet wounds, is taught."

- Kimberly Martinez in Miami

“1) A lot more fire drills, code red/yellow lockdowns, bomb threat evacuation drills, etc. 2) Everyone has a school/county ID they wear visibly while on campus. 3) More locked doors right after dismissal time. 4) New gates/ fencing were put up to control access.”

- David Ghenassia in North Miami Beach

WLRN's Engagement Producer Katie Lepri contributed to this report.