Florida To Launch New School Safety App

Aug 16, 2018

Florida will soon launch a new app that will allow people to anonymously report suspicious activity in the state's schools.

Damien Kelly, the executive director of the state's newly created Office of Safe Schools, said Wednesday that authorities expect to launch the FortifyFL app within the next two weeks. State legislators this past spring set aside $400,000 to develop the app in the aftermath of a mass shooting where 17 students and faculty were killed.

Kelly told the State Board of Education that the app will be designed to send information to threat assessment teams including the school resource officer assigned to individual schools. But Kelly also added that some tips would go directly to 911, such as if someone saw a student placing a gun in a backpack.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said Wednesday that the start of a new school year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland is "a challenging time" for students, teachers and other school employees.

Runcie said the school now has two wellness centers and a team of counselors, social workers and therapy dogs. He said the Feb. 14 massacre "feels like it happened yesterday so there's a lot of emotion going on."

All classroom doors have new hardware that automatically locks when the doors are pulled shut. Witnesses said teacher Scott Beigel and student Joaquin Oliver were fatally shot after they ushered students inside to safety, in part because the old hardware required relocking from the outside.

Despite $6.5 million spent to enhance security, some students say they'll never feel safe.