School Safety

C.M. GUERRERO / EL NUEVO HERALD

After the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, safety is at the top of a lot of people’s minds – especially in schools.

Aaron Sánchez-Guerra / WLRN

In the weeks before the start of the 2019-2020 academic  year, the department of transportation of Miami-Dade County Public Schools has been testing new features to increase the safety and reliability of their bus fleet. 

Transportation employees demonstrated on Friday morning a pilot GPS tracking program that provides real-time locations, routes, and estimated time of arrival for all county school buses. The data is also shared with county police.

The way some school districts are choosing to comply with bolstered safety measures has U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) upset. Scott explained the problem to the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on enhancing school safety.

Daniel Bock / Miami Herald

“I absolutely sympathize with the comments that say the ratio of counselors to students in the state of Florida and nationally are inadequate,” said Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho  during the school district’s first public budget hearing on Wednesday. 

“It is insufficient, it is a ratio that should not be accepted. We know the American Counseling Association recommends a ratio of 250 students for every one counselor, and we’re not at that. Nor is the state, nor is the country.” 

Districts Could Be Called Out On School Safety

Jun 6, 2019

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. 

Broward Sheriff's Office

This story was updated at 7:45 p.m. 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has arrested former Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson for his inaction during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland last year, which left 17 dead and 17 others injured.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

The state public safety commission that’s been investigating the 2018 Parkland school shooting is meeting in Sunrise Tuesday, the first of two days of meetings this month. On the agenda: mental health services in schools, how schools handle reported threats, and changing discipline programs.   

School ‘Guardian’ Program Grows

May 31, 2019

An executive order signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in February helped increase the number of counties participating in a controversial “guardian” program that allows school staff members to be armed on campus, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said Thursday. 

Florida Lawmakers Are Schooled On Student Safety In Israel

May 29, 2019
C.M. GUERRERO / Miami Herald

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.

It was sunny and cold on Feb. 13, 2018, when 18-year-old Jack Sawyer walked out of Dick's Sporting Goods in Rutland, Vt., with a brand-new pump-action shotgun and four boxes of ammunition.

The next day, Valentine's Day, Sawyer took his new gun out for target practice.

Around the same time, about 1,500 miles away in Parkland, Fla., a 19-year-old shot and killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

DeSantis Signs Bill Allowing Armed Teachers

May 9, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed legislation that expands the controversial school “guardian” program to allow armed classroom teachers. 

Florida Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing More Armed Teachers

May 2, 2019

More Florida classroom teachers could carry guns in school under a bill passed Wednesday by state lawmakers, the latest response to last year's mass shooting at a Parkland high school. 

Florida Senate Passes Controversial Bill Arming Teachers

Apr 23, 2019
Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

In search of a solution that will prevent another school massacre, a sharply divided Florida Senate on Tuesday passed a wide-ranging school safety bill that includes a controversial provision aimed at adding armed teachers to the line of defense.

The Senate passed the bill on a 22-17 vote, with Democrats and Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, opposed to the legislation’s expansion of the school “guardian” program to allow armed classroom teachers. The program was created last year and has allowed other school staff members to be armed if districts approve.

News Service of Florida

More than a year after the Parkland high school shooting, emotions continue to run high at the Florida Capitol as lawmakers consider school-safety proposals that would expand a controversial “school guardian” program and allow trained teachers to be armed.

The House Education Committee on Thursday approved its version of the bill (PCB EDC 19-02) along party lines, following heated back-and-forth between Republican lawmakers who support the guardian program and teachers who testified that they oppose having colleagues carry guns.

Broward Superintendent Introduces New Security Chief

Mar 8, 2019
Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie introduced the district's new security chief, Brian Katz, who was hired following recommendations from The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission.

"As father of a child who has been in the Broward School District for 10 years, as volunteer in those schools and as a security professional, I understand the gravity of being the first person to hold this critical role," said Katz.   

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