Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission meets in Central Florida

Commissioners to go through 13-page report during two-day meeting

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission is meeting in Central Florida to discuss their second annual report on findings and recommendations for school safety.

During the two-day meeting at Omni Orlando Resort, commissioners are going through their 13-chapter report, which outlines what further work should be done to keep students safe.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who is the commission chair, opened the meeting on Tuesday with a discussion about a recent incident in Volusia County. In late September, deputies said an intoxicated man wandered into a classroom at Spruce Creek High School.

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"They thought that they had the right procedures in place, but the procedures and the policies are only as good as the people," Gualtieri said.

Complacency is an issue that the commission spoke about, as some districts in Florida have had trouble complying with school safety mandates following the Parkland school shooting in 2018.

"We've seen, selectively, certain districts that have decided what laws they're going to follow and which ones they're not and it doesn't work that way and it can't work that way," Gualtieri said.

Part of the report also covers recommending new laws to the state legislature. One recommendation involves verbal threats made to a school.

"If you call the school today and say 'I'm going to shoot it up,' that's not a crime," Gualtieri said. "So, that's going to be a recommendation that the legislature further modify the statute to include verbal threats."

Mental health is also a topic of focus by the commission.  Some members said the current system needs to change.

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"There needs to be coordinated care. There needs to be case management," Gualtieri said. "When is the mental health system going to step up and do something to address these problems?"

After the two-day meeting, the commission will finalize their report before submitting it to the governor on Nov. 1.

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