School safety

File photo / WFSUNews

Leon County Schools has debuted its comprehensive school safety program to be implemented this school year. Many of the updates are mandated by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act passed last Session.

A classroom of empty desks
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With a new law in place, Florida officials are still working to implement a lot of its components to ensuring the safety of Florida’s schools to avoid tragedies like the mass school shooting in Parkland.

The commission charged with improving school safety is looking into the effectiveness of school resource officers—a school’s main line of defense that critics say failed students at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School amid a Valentine’s Day shooting. Seventeen students died, more than a dozen others were injured.

Florida Beer Wholesalers Association's screenshot

Most Florida schools opened this week, and the rest will soon start. An unlikely source is reminding the public about safety as kids head back to school: The Florida Beer Wholesalers Association.

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A bill filed to make sure tragedies like Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting don’t happen in Florida passed the state House Monday. But, the measure that could allow teachers to carry guns on school campus drew a lot of fire from Democrats.

It’s been more than a year since the Sandy Hook mass shooting that left 26 people dead—mostly kids. And, Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) says according to a national report, close to 50-percent of the incidents—similar to Sandy Hook—are known to last less than 15 minutes.

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The national gun-control debate is echoing in the committee rooms of the Florida Legislature this week. Since Wednesday, three bills relating to firearms have passed House committees, two of them after intense debates.

On the same day President Obama is pushing tighter gun control at the White House, the Florida House Judiciary Committee has passed a memorial, or an official legislative memo, with its own message for the president.

Measures related to cyber bullying, school security, open school board meetings and the United States founding fathers all made it past the House K-12 Subcommittee on Wednesday. The cyber bullying bill would require principals to intervene when students threaten each other on the Internet.

It was the first committee stop for the cyber bullying bill, sponsored by Rep. Reggie Fullwood (D-Jacksonville). He said, cyber bullying is something we hear about more and more, and it’s time for Florida to crack down on it.

ABC 27, WTXL

Days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Leon County Superintendent Jackie Pons greets students as they leave from class at Sable Palm Elementary School.

“With that going on, I felt it was important to get our leadership team out and to see my children and all the kids, and reassure them that schools are a safe place to be," he says as parents drive by and pickup their kids.

Following the school shooting in Connecticut that left more than 20 children and a number of adults dead, Floridians are taking a close look at their own vulnerability.  Experts have started raising concerns about Florida’s low level of spending for mental health services, and the governor has asked schools to take a look at beefing up their safety plans.