To go along with the ever-growing list of advance problems, policies, and inaction that contributed to the shooting deaths of 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a report has surfaced that shows the school had been advised about security problems by a former member of the Secret Service who inspected the school just months ahead of the shooting on February 14.
In the wake of the Parkland shooting, apart from the media calling for gun control, there have been a number of solutions bandied about to make our schools safer. What then are we to make of the fact that this particular location had been advised directly on these very issues, ahead of the shooting, yet little-to-no action was taken? This appears to be the very case.
Steve Wexler is a former agent of the Secret Service, and a person very familiar with the campus where the grave tragedy occurred. Wexler saw two of his children graduate from MSDHS, and he has frequently conducted seminars for students and faculty on safety. In December of 2017 the SS veteran was asked to come to the school and assess safety measures. What he found was problematic.
In an interview with the Sun-Sentinel Wexler detailed how he canvassed the property and entered the buildings, with far too much ease. Armed with Post-It notes, he left a trail of markers throughout the school where severe actions would be likely to transpire with an active-shooter scenario. He ran out notes after placing 20, and he could have continued.
He said to the staff that day, “This stuff is blatantly obvious. You’ve got to fix this.”
Among the glaring problems cited were students lacking ID badges, fire alarm procedures that aided a gunman, as well as external gates unsecured and doors to the school unlocked for ease of entry. Wexler was able to stroll the halls and place his notices without ever being stopped by staff and questioned.
”Nobody challenged me. No one approached me,” he told the paper.
After, he sat with a handful of school officials and went over the list of problems he discovered. No real discernable steps to remedy the problems had been taken following his visit. The Sun-Sentinel reached out to the Broward School District -- which has been stonewalling the public and press over details of the shooting. Spokeswoman Traci Clark would only confirm that some recommendations with an outside source had been discussed. She gave no further details under the guise that she could not, due to safety concerns.
Likewise, school officials themselves are close-lipped about their conference over the safety concerns found. Two of those who met with Wexler, as well as the MSDHS principal, would not comment on the meeting. Meanwhile, the former Secret Service agent is left wondering. “If they didn’t want to use the recommendation, why then would the school reach out to me?”
The mystery of the ignored recommendations just becomes another example of a failure of authorities, one that leaves more than just Steve Wexler asking, “Where on the food chain did that information die?"
Brad Slager is a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer who wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.