A Look At School Safety A Year After The Parkland Shooting

Feb 15, 2019

One year ago, a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and, within six minutes, took the lives of 17 people and injured 17 others.

In the following months, survivors turned into activists, rallying Florida and the country to get serious about gun control.

“Never again” was the rallying cry.

State lawmakers responded. Shortly after the shooting, they passed a school safety act that raised the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21, banned devices that turn assault rifles into machine guns and imposed a three-day waiting period for people buying rifles.

Schools have struggled to meet the act’s other requirements: hardening buildings and stationing school resource officers in every campus.

On the South Florida Roundup, Morning Edition anchor Christine DiMattei – filling in for host Tom Hudson – was joined by a panel of WLRN reporters. They discussed the actions taken since the shooting and what's left to do.

Here's an excerpt of that conversation:

WLRN: Tell us more about this statewide grand jury that Gov. DeSantis is requesting. 

CAITIE SWITALSKI: I was in the Broward County courthouse on Wednesday, when the governor announced that he wants to see this statewide grand jury come forward. He's petitioned the state Supreme Court to create this and the whole design is that it would investigate school districts around the state but especially Broward County and look at how they've been using funding that's been allotted for school security measures in recent years. So examining things like general bond obligation funds and any funds that were allotted to school hardening – like fences and surveillance cameras. And there's a spotlight on Broward. How have they been using this funding in recent years? Have they used it at all? Did they use it for school hardening? Or did they not use it? 

There has already been a state commission that investigated the shooting. So how is this grand jury different? 

The Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission was charged with a much more detailed investigation of what happened on Feb. 14, 2018. Their recommendations have included school hardening school security measures. But the idea is that this grand jury would have the power to indict. It's going to also be looking into the shooting, but if there have been misappropriated use of school security funds, potentially this jury could indict someone. It is almost. And it is Governor DeSantis's answer to calls to remove Superintendent Robert Runcie.