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Local schools respond to safety and House Bill 1421 signed by Gov.

Bill enhances school security and mental health
Posted at 6:58 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 05:18:29-04

SOUTHWEST, FLA — Grief and discussions of the mass shootings have been at the forefront and leaders are trying to work on policies to try and prevent another tragic shooting from happening.

Just this week Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill to enhance school security and mental health.

The new bill comes as parents are concerned and asking questions about how their kids can stay safe while at school.

House Bill 1421 was unanimously approved by the Florida legislature, earlier this year.

The bill promotes improved training for sworn and non-sworn school officers and also requires emergency reunification plans among other items.

"We wanted to make sure that we were provided the resources necessary because these are not going to be good places to go if you’re one of these nut jobs just know if you try that you were going to end up on your ass and it’s not going to end up being pretty and you’re not going to walk out of there alive. If you look at what we’ve done with school security in Florida with this budget now will have done close to 3/4 of $1 billion just since I’ve been a governor on school security."
Governor Ron DeSantis

Charlotte County Public Schools along with Lee and Collier say they are aware of the bill and have provided statements.

The Charlotte County School District said that this new 19-page-bill is in compliance with the safety standard procedures of Charlotte County schools — implemented after the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shooting in 2018.

Charlotte County says that they will review this bill and do what’s needed to be in compliance with it.

Below are examples of some safety measures that CCPS has implemented.

  • Active Assailant One Button Lock Down System
  • 6 Foot Fencing with Electronic Gates at All K-12 Schools
  • New Surveillance Video Cameras (With 24/7 Law Enforcement Access)
  • A-1 Phone System at School Access Points (Front Door and Front Gate)
  • Panic Buttons
  • Outside Key Boxes for Local Law Enforcement
  • Single Point of Entry to All Schools
  • All Classroom Doors Lock from The Inside
  • All Exterior and Interior Doors Locked at All Times
  • Code Red / Active Assailant Monthly Drills led by Local Law Enforcement
  • Designated Safest Areas in Classrooms
  • Crisis Plan Reviews Annually
  • School-Based Threat Assessment Teams
  • Fortify Florida Reporting App
  • Raptor Active Assailant Notification App (Alyssa’s Law)
  • Instant Reporting of Suspicious Activity to Law Enforcement & School Officials
  • Mandatory ID badges For All staff
  • Mandatory ID badges For All High School Students
  • School Resource Officer at Every School with Two at Every High School and our Largest Middle School
  • Two School Security Monitors at Every High School
  • One School Security Monitor at Every Middle School
  • Deans of Discipline at our Largest Middle School and all High Schools
  • Additional Social Workers
  • Additional Psychologists
  • Additional Guidance Counselors

Collier County Schools say that CCPS provided Youth Mental Health First Aid Training (YMHFA) to staff for several years before it became a Florida Department of Education (FLDE) requirement.

Collier County says that this summer, there are agreements in place with Teamsters (transportation staff) and CCEACAP (assistants and non-instructional) to pay for training in YMHFA. It was also said to be a focal point for the teacher's pre-service training in YMHFA before the start of the school year.

Collier staff will continue to review the final legislation to determine any additional measures that may need to add to their current layers of security. CCPS Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton regularly speaks directly with Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk regarding school campus security. 

Collier Public Schools said they are thankful for their partnership with local law enforcement — Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Naples Police Department, and Marco Island Police Department — to assign youth relations deputies on our school campuses for more than 40 years. 

Here are some examples of Collier school's safety approaches:

  • Law enforcement personnel are on our campuses all day, every day
  • We operate single points of entry at all schools
  • We installed video doorbells to allow front doors to remain locked at all schools
  • Classroom doors remain locked
  • Classroom door windows are covered
  • We assess every single classroom in conjunction with law enforcement 
  • All staff have the ability to call for a lockdown
  • Students at all schools have id badges
  • We have school threat assessment teams at every school
  • Backpacks and large bags aren’t allowed at athletic events
  • All first responders have key access to our campuses during an emergency

The School District of Lee County shared some of the different security rules that they abide by set in HB 1421 [flsenate.gov]. They said that the safety and security of the students and staff are the highest priority.

Sheriff Carmine Marceno explains, "Governor DeSantis stepped up as he always does and he did a huge thing for all of us in the states — we’re going to have the funds to help people that have a mental illness." he said, "The other side of that bill is specifically on school safety— safe kids and safe schools are always number one and still having a governor that gives us the tools to do our job."

Sheriff Marceno said that the funds will make their job a lot easier which will make the state great.