Ron DeSantis Signs School Safety Bill Into Law

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a school safety proposal from state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, and state Rep. Fred Hawkins, R-St. Cloud.

The proposal extends the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which had been scheduled to sunset next year, through 2025. The legislation also “authorizes the Commissioner of Education to enforce, rather than just oversee, school safety and security compliance; authorizes safe school officers to make arrests on charter school property; requires all safe school officers to complete crisis intervention and training to improve knowledge and skills for response and de-escalate incidents on school premises; requires law enforcement officers to be present and involved in active assailant emergency drills; requires school boards to adopt family reunification plans in the event of an evacuation; and requires that school districts must annually certify that at least 80 percent of school personnel have received mandatory youth mental health awareness training.”

Gruters and Hawkins were able to get their legislation through without any opposition.

“Every child needs a safe and secure learning environment,” said DeSantis. “By signing HB 1421, we continue to build on the many steps we have taken since 2019 to implement the recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, while also making record investments in mental health and school safety.”

“This legislation is a huge leap forward in school safety,” said State Board of Education Member Ryan Petty.“I want to thank Governor DeSantis for his bold leadership on this most fundamental issue. Nothing is more important than providing safe and secure learning environments for our children and educators. Extending the Commission’s work and requiring mental health and de-escalation training for safe-school officers will make a major difference in mitigating the risk of a future tragedy.”

“Every parent deserves to know their child is safe at school,” said Tony Montalto, the president of Stand with Parkland. “This new law, which passed unanimously through the Florida Legislature, is an important next step in providing school safety assurances to families and students. Florida will continue to do everything possible to make sure our schools meet the highest safety standards and that mental health issues associated with school violence are being addressed.”

Kevin Derby
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