Office of Safe Schools
In the wake of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that took the lives of 17 Florida students and educators, the Florida Legislature passed and Governor Rick Scott signed SB 7026, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. This legislation outlines significant reforms to make Florida schools safer, while keeping firearms out of the hands of mentally ill and dangerous individuals.
On March 23, 2018, Governor Rick Scott sent a letter (PDF) to district superintendents and school board members that outlined the progress that has been made in implementing the law. It also included the deadlines that the Florida Department of Education and each school district must meet. The timeline below will guide the department’s work as we collaborate with stakeholders to implement fully the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. This webpage will be updated regularly, as more information is available and implementation deadlines are met.
- By May 1, 2018, the Florida Department of Education will hire a Director for their newly created Office of Safe Schools.
- Upon SB 7026 becoming law, DOE immediately began working to implement active shooter training so each teacher, student, faculty member and school safety officer knows what to do during a crisis. This training must be done at least every semester.
- By July 1, 2018, superintendents must designate a district School Safety Specialist (Excel).
- By August 1, 2018, each school district must complete a security risk assessment for each public school campus. The assessment must be conducted in consultation with local law enforcement. Although the $99 million in funding for school hardening will be distributed as quickly as possible, school districts should use existing funding to make any critical safety improvements immediately.
- Before the start of the 2018-2019 school year, DOE will begin to identify a security consulting firm for the independent, third-party review of the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool, as required by the new law.
- By September 1, 2018, each school should establish a threat assessment team with expertise in mental health counseling, academic instruction, law enforcement and school administration that will meet monthly to review any potential threats to students and staff at the school.
- By July 1, 2018, each school board, in coordination with their County Sheriff, is expected to determine how many people they intend to train using the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program. This program is 100 percent voluntary. Once participation decisions have been made, DOE will work with the Governor’s Office and the Legislature to redirect any unused funding from this program to hire additional school officers.
- In the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, Florida schools were provided $97.5 million to hire additional school safety officers. Governor Scott has stated that his expectation is that there is at least one school safety officer at each school at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. According to the most recent data before the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, approximately 1,500 law enforcement officers were working in our schools.
- Before the start of the 2018-2019 school year, DOE will establish a youth mental awareness and assistance training program to train school personnel to better identify signs of mental illness in students and how to seek the proper treatment.
- In the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, Florida schools were provided $69 million to establish or expand school-based mental health care. Our expectation is that each student in Florida has access to a mental health professional at school by the 2018-2019 school year. Plans must be submitted to DOE by August 1, 2018.
If you have any questions, please contact the Florida Department of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.