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Florida Gov. Rick Scott Outlines Next Steps For School Safety

Ryan Benk
Scott flanked by Northern Tool and Equipment employees during his budget proposal announcement in Jacksonville in November 2017.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is outlining next steps for school districts, following his signing this month of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act.

He sent a timeline to all Florida superintendents.

With Scott’s signature, $400 million is going toward mental health services and making schools safer. Almost a fourth is earmarked for metal detectors, bulletproof glass and other security features.

By August, districts along with police must complete security-risk assessments. Scott said state money for improvements will be dispersed as quickly as possible, but districts should make any critical improvements immediately.

Also by this summer, superintendents must designate school-safety specialists for their districts, as well as determine how many employees, if any, they’d like to train to carry guns, which is voluntary.

Duval’s school board came out against this measure, known as the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, while the legislature debated it.

By the beginning of next school year, all schools must have at least one school safety officer.  The state is providing $97.5 million to help with hiring.

By August 1, districts must submit plans to the state for how every student will have access to mental health professionals. The access must be available by the beginning of next school year.

During the fall of next year, each school should have in place a threat assessment team to meet monthly and review any potential threats.  That team is required to have expertise in mental health counseling, academic instruction, police and school administration.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education will oversee active-shooter training in schools at least once per semester. It must also hire a director for its newly created Office of Safe Schools.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.   

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.