DeSantis signs sweeping school safety bill: ‘Every child needs a safe, secure learning environment’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping school safety bill that he hopes will ensure every child is granted “a safe and secure learning environment” when at school.

Referred to as HB 1421, the bill focuses primarily on ensuring that both school officers and general law enforcement officers are equipped with the proper training and authorization needed to take down a school shooter, according to a fact sheet from the governor’s office.

The bill grants school officers the right to make arrests at charter schools, requires all school officers “complete crisis intervention and training to improve knowledge and skills for response and de-escalate incidents on school premises,” and requires law enforcement officers “to be present and involved in active assailant emergency drills.”

In addition, the bill extends the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission until 2026. Formed after the Parkland massacre in 2018, the commission has been investigating the institutional failures that led up to the deadly mass shooting and issuing school safety recommendations based on its findings.

The bill also does the following:

♦ It authorizes the Commissioner of Education “to enforce, rather than just oversee, school safety and security compliance.”

♦ It requires that school boards adopt “family reunification plans” in case of an emergency situation like a mass shooting.

♦ And it requires school districts to “annually certify that at least 80 percent of school personnel have received mandatory youth mental health awareness training.”

“Every child needs a safe and secure learning environment. 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,” DeSantis said in a statement.

The governor has been passing school safety bills every year since he took office in 2019. There have incidentally been no additional school mass shootings since the Parkland tragedy in 2018.

In 2019, he “enacted legislation to implement school safety recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission and issued Executive Order 19-45 to require the Department of Education to communicate best practices for school safety to all school districts.”

That same year, he also approved over $600 million for school safety and mental health programs.

The following year, DeSantis authorized millions more for school safety and mental health programs. He also signed Alyssa’s Law.

Named after Parkland victim Alyssa Alhadeff, Alyssa’s Law made it so that “all Florida public schools, including charters, must implement a mobile panic alert system capable of connecting diverse emergency services technologies to ensure real-time coordination between multiple first responder agencies beginning with the 2021-2022 school year,” according to the Florida Department of Education.

Then the next year in 2021, the governor again directed millions toward school safety and mental health programs, and he also signed SB 590.

SB 590 “required school administrators to gather data on involuntary examinations of students and report data to the Department of Education (DOE); required school safety officers to receive mental health training; and required schools to give timely notification of threats, unlawful acts, and significant emergencies.”

Despite all these moves, the governor continues to face criticism from members of the left for refusing to implement their desired gun control agenda.

“Democratic lawmakers are pushing for further steps and have gained enough support among their own members to poll the entire Republican-led Legislature, calling for a special session to address gun violence,” the Tallahassee Democrat, a left-wing paper, reported Tuesday.

Last Wednesday, state Rep. Joe Geller reportedly penned a letter to Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd demanding the special session and arguing that without it, more gun violence is inevitable.

“Something must be done to fight back against the deadly scourge of gun violence that touches every community from Pensacola to Key West. It is imperative that we take common sense steps to address the epidemic of gun violence that has led to atrocities in places like Parkland, FL, Buffalo, NY, and most recently in Uvalde, Texas,” he wrote.

Democrats’ preferred solutions include “universal background checks, the regulation of large capacity rifle magazines and an expansion of Florida’s Red Flag law,” according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

DeSantis, however, does not view guns as the primary culprit. If anything, he’s reportedly pushing to sign a no-permit carry gun law before his term in office expires.

“I can’t tell you if it’s going to be next week, six months, but I can tell you before I am done as governor, we will have a signature on that bill,” he vowed during a press conference in late April.

Democrats are now trying to use this against him in the 2022 Florida gubernatorial race:

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