Ron DeSantis signs New Law to Improve Florida School Safety
HB 1421 builds on legislation passed in the previous three years to implement the additional recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. It is to make schools safer and improve youth mental health in Florida. Governor DeSantis also approved a record $140 million for mental health and $210 million for school safety in the Freedom First Budget. It also included school hardening grants and youth mental health awareness and assistance training.
“Every child needs a safe and secure learning environment”
“Every child needs a safe and secure learning environment,” said Governor Ron 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, President of Stand with Parkland.
He went on to say that the new law enacted by the Florida Legislature is a significant step toward giving families and kids guarantees about school safety. Florida will also continue to do all in its power to guarantee that the schools fulfill the greatest safety requirements. School violence-related mental health concerns are being addressed.
Following are the functions of the new bill:
- HB 1421 extends the sunset date of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission;
- Authorizes the Commissioner of Education to enforce school safety and security compliance rather than simply overseeing it;
- Allows safe school officers to arrest students on charter school grounds;
- All safe school officers must complete crisis intervention and training to improve their knowledge
- Skills for responding to and de-escalating incidents on school grounds.
- Law enforcement officers must be present and participate in active assailant emergency drills.
- In the event of an evacuation, school boards must adopt family reunification plans; and
- School districts must certify annually that at least 80% of school personnel have completed mandatory youth mental health awareness training.
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