Florida legislators expect DeSantis to sign law to help prevent school shootings

Florida legislators expect Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign a new law that supporters described as a "step forward in school safety'"

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.

Legislators passed a bill on school safety on Feb. 24, and a bill to address the mental health of students on March 2.

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.

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About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.