MSD Public Safety Commission looks at Columbine changes to get ideas on school security

Panel seeks to subpoena Tamarac mayor over need for new 911 communications tower

By Trent Kelly - Reporter

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission met Wednesday and heard from a special speaker from Littleton, Colorado, where the Columbine High School shooting took place in 1999.

The commission met at the BB&T Center in Sunrise to gain ideas about school safety from another school district that had been rocked by tragedy.

"A lot of these processes were inspired by the Columbine tragedy," Guy Grace, of the Littleton, Colorado, School District, said. 

The panel heard a detailed presentation from Grace, who outlined security changes made after Columbine.

Among the recommendations were installing push-button locks, establishing a single point of entry and creating a districtwide, unified command center.

"The biggest hurdle, you know, often is funding," Grace said. "But also too, when you look at it, changing views, changing culture, but also not taking things too far and turning your school into a prison."

"It really upsets me because there is no one in this district who has his knowledge. And I don't understand why the school board has not hired somebody who can bring his knowledge," Max Schachter, whose son Alex was killed in the Feb. 14 Parkland shooting, said. 

Grady Judd, Polk County sheriff and commission member, began the meeting by recommending the panel subpoena the mayor of Tamarac over the need for a new 911 communications tower. The commission chair said he prefers to ask city officials to voluntarily come in.

"Every day that Tamarac delays the approval of that tower is another day that's preventing us from fixing this interoperability system and ensuring that all residents of Broward County are going to be safe when the next mass causality event happens," Schachter said.

Some of the other ideas shared Wednesday included giving all teachers a panic button and installing cameras in every classroom -- ideas which would come with a hefty price tag.

The safety commission will reconvene for another meeting Thursday morning.

 

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