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Governor, fathers of 2 Stoneman Douglas victims vow to crack down on school safety

Gov. Rick Scott hopes to put bulletproof glass, metal detectors in all schools

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The fathers of two victims who were killed nearly two weeks ago in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School appeared with Gov. Rick Scott Tuesday at a news conference about school safety.

The news conference was held at the Miami-Dade Police Department's headquarters in Doral.

Scott vowed to crack down on school security, saying "our state will never be the same," after the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 people dead.

Scott said he has met with educators, counselors and law enforcement experts to come up with a strategy to protect all schools.

He said among his plans are to have an increased police presence at all public schools in the state, with more police officers or deputies at larger schools.

He said schools also need metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors and upgraded locks.

"We have to do everything we can to make sure that somebody who wants to harm any one of our students could never do it again," Scott said. 

The governor said all public schools will have a threat assessment team that will meet on a monthly basis. The team will be made up of the principal, teachers and local law enforcement officers. 

He said he also plans to have more mental health counselors at schools. 

The father of one of the Stoneman Douglas victims, Meadow Pollack, 18, has led the charge in demanding that something is done to protect schools not just in Florida, but across the country.

"I want to be the last father of a murdered kid that's ever in this country," Andy Pollack said. "That's it. This is me. I'm the last father."

Pollack said he wants everyone to come together, regardless of their political affiliation, and work on keeping the nation's schools safe.

"We're going to set the example for the rest of the country," he said.

Pollack and the father of another victim, Alaina Petty, 14, thanked Scott for his efforts to protect the schools in Florida. 

"As Andy said, every other governor is on notice at this point," Ryan Petty said. "We've got to bring people together, we've got to bring the experts in, figure out how we protect and secure our schools and get it done. There are no more excuses. We don't have any more time."

The news conference came nearly two weeks to the day when 17 people were fatally shot at the Parkland school.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has since said school resource deputies in Broward County public schools will be armed with rifles.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said while the shooting happened in a neighboring county, the shooting is a reminder that the state's schools aren't protected enough.

"We all mourn the loss of life at Marjory Stoneman in Parkland," Gimenez said. "Our schools need to be more secure. Much like (how) our airports (and) our seaports have increased security, so should our schools. Our police officers need to be more protected and better equipped to face these threats, which is why over a year ago, Miami-Dade County police purchased protective gear for its patrol officers that could withstand bullets fired from an AR-15 or similar weapons."

Gimenez said Miami-Dade police offered its assistance to the Broward Sheriff's Office immediately after the shooting and will continue to offer its support.


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