PARKLAND, Fla. – Florida legislators expect Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign a new law focused on improving school safety.
The massacre at an elementary school in Texas has brought the issues of school safety, mental health, and gun control back to the forefront.
Florida Rep. Christine Hunschofsky was the mayor of Parkland who responded to the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Hunschofsky, D-Parkland, said she was proud to see the unanimous support that the bill received earlier this year.
Florida’s school safety bill (HB 1421) requires the development of a family reunification plan, emergency drills with law enforcement, incident reporting, and more crisis intervention and awareness training.
The bill (HB 1421) also extends the MSD Commission’s powers to monitor the implementation of the legislation until July 1, 2026. It also requires the state’s Commissioner of Education to enforce the new measures.
“The enhancements of this bill through DOE (The Department of Education) are going to give it the horsepower,” said Wayne Black, a school security consultant.
The mental health of students bill (HB 899) requires charter schools to comply with involuntary examination data reporting requirements, and the Department of Children and Families to use the data.
The state law will also require schools to provide information on additional behavioral health services and resources to students and their families. Each district will have to hire a mental health coordinator.
DeSantis signed the bill on the mental health of students. If HB 1421 is approved by DeSantis, both bills take effect in July.