Parkland parents showed their outrage Wednesday night at a packed, and emotional, city commission meeting, after a series of security scares at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“My fears have increased 100 percent this week with the increased activity by trespassers, weapons being brought on campus,” said Elyse Claprood, whose daughter attends Stoneman Douglas High. “We can’t live in this bubble anymore in this city.”
Five weeks after the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 people dead, the younger brother of confessed-shooter Nikolas Cruz, Zachary Cruz, was arrested and charged with trespassing on the school’s campus. A Broward Sheriff’s deputy who was on duty at the time was placed on leave because he was found sleeping in his patrol unit.
Also this week, two other incidents led to arrests when students brought knives and razors to the school.
Parkland father Todd Rogers told the commission his 6-year-old didn’t know what a gun was prior to the shooting.
“I’m so angry that my son’s innocence has been robbed by this event,” Rogers said.
"More important than feeling safe, these schools need to be safe," Mayor Christine Hunschofsky said. "I cannot adequately express my anger at the events over the past week.”
Commissioners reviewed the safety measures recently announced by the Broward County School District.
Broward County School Superintendent Robert Runcie outlined new safety measures for Stoneman Douglas students Wednesday. Among them:
- Students will only be allowed to use clear backpacks after spring break and the school district will provide them at no cost.
- Students will be issued identification badges that they must wear at all times while on school grounds.
- Students will be funneled in and out of school in an airport-style fashion, at certain entry points only.
- Eight Florida Highway Patrol troopers will guard every entry and exit at Stoneman Douglas High. This started Thursday.
- There will be more emergency preparedness training as well as Code Red training at all schools in the district.
Mayor Hunschofsky stated at the meeting that the city’s last review and analysis of staffing levels, police contracts and law enforcement in the city took place in 2003. She requested a new review be conducted.
The commission alerted parents to the city’s safety email address: firstname.lastname@example.org is a specific email address for Parkland residents who see and want to report any suspicious activity.
Parkland's March For Our Lives will be on March 24, beginning at Pine Trails Park at 10 a.m.