New Florida law aims to improve school safety. Here’s what it does

DeSantis signs HB-1421

A new Florida law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis aims at improving school safety.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A new Florida law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis aims at improving school safety.

The governor signed HB-1421 on Tuesday in an effort to “implement the additional recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission,” a news release said. The commission was formed after the mass shooting in 2018 at the Parkland high school.

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“This legislation is a huge leap forward in school safety,” State Board of Education member Ryan Petty said in a statement. ”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.”

According to the governor’s office, the bill does the following:

  • Extends the sunset of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission
  • Gives authority to the Commissioner of Education to enforce school safety and compliance, rather than overseeing
  • Authorizes safe school officers to make arrests on charter school property
  • Requires all safe school officers to go through crisis intervention and training to respond 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
  • Requires that school districts annually certify at least 80% of school personnel have received mandatory youth mental health awareness training

News 6 reached out to Central Florida school districts for their statements on the signing of HB-1421. Here’s what they responded:

Brevard County

Flagler County

Lake County

The safety and security of students and staff is our top priority. HB 1421 will help to strengthen our campus security measures through increased training, enhanced protocols and heightened procedures to further address the mental health needs of our youth.

Marion County

Orange County

Seminole County

Sumter County

Volusia County

The law goes into effect on July 1.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.