Committee on Education Passes Legislation to
Implement MSD Commission Recommendations
The Senate Committee on Education chaired by Senator Manny Diaz, Jr. (R-Hialeah), today passed Senate Proposed Bill (SPB) 7030, School Safety and Security. The legislation builds on the school safety and security foundation established in Senate Bill (SB) 7026 (2018) by addressing the school safety and security recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) Public Safety Commission, and strengthening accountability and compliance oversight authority.
“One year ago this week, we made a commitment to the students and families of Parkland that we would do everything in our power to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again,” said Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), sponsor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act of 2018. “For me, an important part of that commitment was taking the recommendations of the MSDHS Public Safety Commission seriously, so I am very pleased this critical school safety legislation gets to the heart of the Commission recommendations. As we prepare to mark the anniversary of the horrific shooting in Parkland later this week, this legislation is an important part of our ongoing effort to honor the memory of those we lost and ensure all Florida students are safe in our schools.”
“For the last several weeks, our committee has reviewed in great detail, and heard testimony from members of the public and key state officials regarding the implementation of the MSDHS Public Safety Act and the extensive work and comprehensive list of initial recommendations put forward by the Commission,” said Chair Diaz. “This legislation implements the Commission’s recommendations in the areas of school safety and security with key improvements to school security measures, enhancements to student safety, and by providing greater flexibility for school districts to transfer funds towards school safety expenditures. This legislation demonstrates that the memory of those we lost in Parkland will never be forgotten, and we will continue to take the steps necessary to keep our children safe in school.”
SPB 7030 directly responds to Commission concerns regarding the ability of and pace at which school districts are implementing security portions of the MSDHS Public Safety Act by establishing a workgroup to review campus hardening policies and recommend a prioritized list of strategies for implementation and related policy and funding enhancements. The bill standardizes risk assessment data collections and compliance by prioritizing the use of the school security risk assessment tool and including first responders in the assessment. The bill also implements the Commission recommendation to expand school district options and eligibility for participation in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program.
The legislation enhances student safety by requiring improved school safety incident reporting, promoting the FortifyFL mobile suspicious activity reporting tool, and expediting services for students with mental or behavioral disorders. The bill also requires active assailant response policies, establishes a standard behavioral threat assessment instrument, and creates a workgroup to make recommendations regarding the development of a statewide threat assessment database.
SPB 7030 provides school districts with greater flexibility to improve school safety by authorizing the transfer of additional categorical funds within the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) towards school safety expenditures.
Additional legislation is forthcoming to implement MSDHS Commission Recommendations related to 911 emergency services, duty to warn in threat situations, and funding to support and sustain school district investments in school safety and security enhancements.