DeSantis Advisers Want More Action On School Safety

Jan 4, 2019

Florida Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis, speaks alongside Lieutenant Gov.-elect Jeanette Nunez during a news conference after attending a school roundtable, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, at the Brauser Maimonides Academy, an Orthodox Jewish day school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Credit Wilfredo Lee / AP

Advisers to Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis (R) are discussing school safety policy. This comes after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission published the first draft of its report.

As DeSantis prepares for his inauguration, members of his transition team are finalizing policy objectives. Among the public safety team’s biggest concerns is school safety.

Members are grappling with how to force schools to comply with mandatory reporting deadlines under the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool. Some advisers, like Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels, argue schools may be choosing not to comply intentionally.

"When we determine whether there’s compliance or non-compliance we need to make a determination whether or not it’s done ignorantly or purposefully, speaking specifically to noncompliance," said Daniels. "And we have nothing in place to hold people accountable who make a conscious decision not to comply with the law. This is the law.”

Darryl suggested even arresting administrators who refuse to comply with the FSSAT. Other recommendations include tying reporting to funding and school grades.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd wants lawmakers to address the many shortcomings identified by the MSD Commission. That’s on both educators and law enforcement.

“The Legislature has got to make it a priority," said Judd. "The Governor has got to make it a priority. We have got to mandate and force some of these culture changes because they absolutely, unequivocally will not change on their own."

And that’s not exclusively school systems. That’s also law enforcement response, mental health response as well.”