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Senate Says 'Yes' to Implementing Stoneman Douglas Commission Recommendations

April 23, 2019 - 1:00pm

The Florida Senate on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 7030, which implements the legislative recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, including the ability of eligible teachers who volunteer to carry guns. 

The legislation, which builds on the enhanced school safety and security requirements established in the 2018 bill, SB 7026, passed with a 22-17 vote mostly along party lines.

In a statement issued by the Senate president's office, President Bill Galvano said,  “In the year following the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission worked diligently to investigate system failures in the shooting as well as prior mass violence incidents and developed comprehensive recommendations to enhance school safety and strengthen school district accountability.” 

Galvano, R-Bradenton, was sponsor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Public Act of 2018.

“I am very pleased to see this critical school safety legislation pass the Senate today. When we established this Commission last year, I made a commitment to take these recommendations seriously,” Galvano said. “This legislation continues our efforts to proactively enhance coordination between education, law enforcement, and community mental health resources to ensure at-risk students receive the help they need before a tragedy occurs. The bill also sets forth a plan to help school districts implement the security and school hardening provisions of the legislation we passed last year in an expedited manner to help prevent those who would seek to harm our children from gaining access to our schools.

“Unfortunately, no amount of funding or public policy enhancement can anticipate or prevent every bad act. With this reality in mind, this legislation implements the Commission’s recommendation to expand the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program to allow willing teachers, who meet significant training and background screening requirements, to serve as School Guardians,” said Galvano. “Seconds matter when stopping an active shooter. This legislation will ensure willing school personnel, including classroom teachers, have the training and resources they need to stand as the last line of defense between an innocent child and a violent criminal assailant. As the Commission resumes its work this year, my colleagues and I will continue to monitor the investigation and recommendations as part of our ongoing effort to enhance school safety and reduce the possibility that a tragedy like this will ever happen again.”

Enhances Communication and Reporting of Threats

To improve communication and reporting of active and potential threats to student safety, SB 7030 standardizes risk assessment data collections and compliance by requiring the use of a uniform school security risk assessment tool and including first responders in the assessment. The bill clarifies that the Office of Safe Schools (OSS) must make the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool (FSSAT) available to schools no later than May 1 of each year. Schools have until Oct. 15 of each year to complete the security risk assessment using the FSSAT.

The legislation addresses the identification of student safety issues by requiring a standardized, statewide student threat assessment process and requiring improved reporting or school safety and discipline incidents.

The legislation also promotes the FortifyFL mobile suspicious activity reporting tool and requires active assailant response plans. Specifically, the bill clarifies that districts must report incidents involving any person that occur on school premises, on school transportation, and at off-campus, school-sponsored events. 

Expands Resources Available for Mental Health Services

SB 7030 expedites services for students with mental or behavioral disorders and provides for the continuation of intervention services for students who transfer to a different school. 

To ensure school districts have the resources to implement this recommendation, the legislation expands the authorized uses of the mental health assistance allocation and provides school district flexibility for expenditures.

Expedites Implementation of School Hardening Requirements

The bill directly responds to the Commission’s concerns regarding the ability of, and pace at which, school districts are implementing security portions of the MSDHS Public Safety Act by establishing a workgroup to review campus hardening policies and recommend a prioritized list of strategies and the estimated costs of and timeframes for implementation. 

The legislation also provides school districts with greater flexibility by authorizing the transfer of additional categorical funds within the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) towards school safety expenditures, and expands authorized uses of the safe schools allocation.

Provides School Districts with Options to Maximize School Safety

SB 7030 continues to give school districts options to implement the requirement for at least one safe-school officer (SSO) at each public school facility. The legislation includes four SSO options: (1) School Resource Officer; (2) School Safety Officer, law enforcement employed by district; (3) School Guardian; and (4) School Security Guard.

The legislation authorizes a school district, if the school board chooses, to allow school personnel, including classroom teachers, to volunteer to serve as a School Guardian in the district. The bill also allows a school district to send its private security guards through Guardian Program training in order to serve as safe-school officers for the district. A charter school may also choose to participate in the School Guardian Program or contract with a security agency for private security guards.

SB 7030 keeps school boards in charge of deciding whether their school district will opt to participate in the Guardian Program; and, who in the school district will be given an opportunity to volunteer for the program. The bill does not mandate any employees or teachers in a school district to volunteer to be a Guardian. If a school district chooses to participate in the Guardian Program, the school board may still choose to limit which school employees can volunteer to participate in the program. A school district that chooses to participate in the Guardian program can also choose to prohibit its classroom teachers from volunteering to participate in the program.

If a district employee volunteers for the program, he or she must meet school district requirements to be eligible to participate; meet the Sheriff’s Office requirements to be eligible to participate (background and psychological screening); and, pass all training and testing requirements to the Sheriff’s satisfaction to be certified as a Guardian. Finally, even if a volunteer meets all requirements, an individual may not serve as a Guardian unless appointed by the superintendent.

The bill also increases collaboration between school districts and law enforcement agencies by authorizing a superintendent to designate a law enforcement officer as the district school safety specialist.

Additional legislation is progressing to implement MSDHS Commission’s Recommendations related to 911 emergency services (SB 536), duty to warn in threat situations (SB 7048 and SB 1418), and funding to support and sustain school district investments in school safety and security enhancements (SB 2500).


BTW, I don’t carry at school even though I’m a retired police firearms instructor. Just consider that a dead teacher cannot continue to protect anyone’s children. The standards this legislation outlines are more rigorous than 21 yr old police candidates go through. A retired LEO such as I cannot pass it. I understand the rationale, but seriously? Exit a car? Run 25 yards drag a body weight? Not very realistic to a school campus.

Teachers, keep a half gallon of cleaning ammonia, a bucket, rubber gloves, and a couple of the plunger type water shooting pool toys in your classroom file cabinet/closet. Homemade teargas. Saturate an assailant’s face and chest. Turn tables/desks over in rows between doors & windows to diminish the energy of bullets fired as they pass through each layer rendering them less harmful with each surface they pass through.

It's a shame that the Democrat party only wants lawbreakers to have guns.

Now that we are going to train teachers to carry guns, are we going to train officers to teach reading? Are we going to offer teachers the chance to retire after 25 years like officers? Who will be responsible for the safe keeping of the gun in the pre-k 3 year old and four year classes? Does she just carry openly over her professional attire? Is this progress or didn't we do this 200 years ago and move away from it now that the children no longer need to help with the hunting for food after school?

A nonsensical comment ! There's a reason its called "CONCEALED CARRY" that even you should be able to comprehend, "Principal" (if your're in any way qualified & certified to fulfill the duties or your commenter "nom de plume" ,...which I seriously doubt ! )

Absolutely agree! Arm trained teachers and staff to protect our kids! The passive way of posting signs “ no guns allowed” has worked! Way to go - protect our kids!

THIS is what "Protecting Our Kids" looks like. Should be a Nat'l Program!

Dunderwhelps, clodpates, and stookies! This state really, REALLY needs to rid itself of one-party Republican rule. It gets more and more bassackwards with every legislative session since the GOPpers have ruled! Yuck! Visit Floriduh ... The Gunshine State

Another far left parrot spewing hate and Democrat party line

Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle! ANY Republican and supporter of Trump is being totally nitwitty claiming that Democrats are being hateful and partisan. Republican rubes wrote the book on hate and partisanship with Gingrich and his politics of personal destruction! GOPpers should reap what they've sown! (By the way, Charlotte, I was a registered Republican until the 1992 presidential election ... when I switched to Independent. Republicans I currently favor include David Jolly, Charlie Crist, John Kasich, Rick Wilson, Michael Steele, Steve Schmid, Bill Kristol, George Will, Kathleen Parker, and quite a few like-minded others.)

You just NEVER seem to get it, "VD2020" ! Why don't you just find another hobby ( other than ill-equipped and poorly enabled defender of socialist-lite Democrats)7. Your "list of favorites" says a whole lot about your obviously inherent ignorance..

My choices are to pray that emergency responders respond within 2 minutes (not likely) and huddle in a corner of my classroom praying that an active shooter will not shoot with the glass door insert, enter the room and spray my students and I will bullets OR to stand diagonally by the door READY to shoot anyone who tries to force their way in the door in order to protect my kids and myself, I will always pick the option that does not involve being a sitting duck! I have a concealed weapons permit, a 9 mm and have taking courses like "Threat Based Shooting". My classroom neighbor is a retired Navy lieutenant. I am pretty sure that he has also been well trained in the use of firearms. There are multiple types of concealed and open harnesses that allow the gun to be correctly secured. There are lock boxes that secure weapons and easily accessible in the event of an emergency. My locked door will provide me enough time to access it. I prefer having the option to at least fight for the life of my kids and myself! This legislation gives me that opportunity.

If Teachers can't protect themselves, and their charges,.. then they certainly won't be teaching :: Teachers in an "attacked" classroom, are most certainly "the person in charge"... and the "Number one target" that must be eliminated in order to gain control of the entire group. Train the Teachers, and ignore the naysayers... if you want your kid to have a good chance of survival...

Thank you! You comment was both succinct and insightful!

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