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Parent: schools need plan to keep special needs students safe during emergencies

Posted at 6:39 PM, Mar 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-16 18:39:57-04

The mother of a special needs student in Collier County is trying to raise awareness about the challenges of providing safety for students with disabilities in a school emergency. Jami Milson's four-year-old son Alex has autism. She said that if there were ever an emergency at his school - such as an active shooter - he wouldn't understand the danger, much less instructions to stay calm and quiet.

"Something should be done to accommodate these children that are not able to stay quiet, or stay still or hide," Milson said.

She has asked Alex's school principal about any plans for special needs children in an emergency.

"She did tell me that there's nothing special that they do with these children," Milson said. "It's just a basic universal drill."

Milson said she's had a tough time finding answers anywhere about what other schools - both local and nationwide - are doing to address the issue.

A spokesman with the Collier County Public School district told Fox 4 on Friday that they were unable to address how they are working to protect special needs students, since the district is on spring break. He said they hoped to have some answers on Monday.

Governor Rick Scott called for sweeping changes in the way Florida schools handle security in the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Parkland  last month - including getting bullet-proof glass installed in classroom doors and windows.

Milson believes that barricading special needs students is the only way to keep them safe from a school shooter.

"The way it is right now, they're sitting ducks," she said.