Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission meets in Sunrise

Commission focuses on Promise program, armed officers on campus

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer, Samantha Bryant - Reporter

The 15-member Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission continued their investigation of the Valentine's Day massacre with meetings Thursday and Friday at BB&T in Sunrise. 

Broward County schools administrator Michaelle Pope and Mark Greenwald, the director of research for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, defended the Promise program, which aims to help troubled children and teens from kindergarten through high school. 

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old shooter who killed 17 people at the school in Parkland, was referred to it in 2013, but didn't participate. Commissioner Max Schachter, whose son Alex Shachter was among the teens killed, wasn't convinced. 

Max Schachter, father of Alex Schachter, who was killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and now is part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission speaks during their meeting at the BB&T…

"The whole purpose is the threat that if they don't go into this program they are going to be arrested, but if they are not arrested, what does that accomplish? And if they do go into the Promise program, does it really change their behavior?" Schachter said.

After discussing the program, the commission focused on the lack of armed police officers capable of protecting students from a shooter at school. 

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri who leads the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission speaks during their meeting at the BB&T Center on June 7, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. The school safety commission was created…

In response to the massacre at MSD, the Florida legislature required that each public school have at least one armed guard. But Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission's chairman, and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said it is unrealistic to expect to have them at all state schools this fall.

Broward Sheriff's Office Maj. Nichole Anderson say the school district should start its own police department like in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. Gualtieri said it's an issue of funding.

The commission will be discussing Cruz's history at the August meeting. Cruz is charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and could face the death penalty. 

The commission is tasked with issuing their first report with recommendations and findings to Gov. Rick Scott by Jan. 1st.