Clay County among Florida schools that haven't finished safety tests

County missed Oct. 31 deadline to provide safety assessment to state panel

SUNRISE, Fla. – Clay County is one of eight school districts in Florida's 67 counties that haven't filed safety assessments mandated by the Florida Legislature after the February high school massacre in Parkland.

State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission Friday there's little she can do to districts that don't file the assessments. The Legislature mandated the annual reports after the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people -- 14 students and three staff members.

The safety assessments were due Oct. 31.

Stewart said the missing districts are Clay, Calhoun, Gilchrist, Indian River, Martin, Palm Beach, Taylor and Washington counties. She said Calhoun's report was delayed because of Hurricane Michael and that other counties' assessments are completed but awaiting its school board's approval.

Clay County told News4Jax that's exactly what's happening with them.

"The district has been in constant contact with the state and is waiting on school board approval. The assessment has been completed," spokeswoman Nicole Snyder said.

Clay County Sheriff's Office Asst. Chief Keith Smith said his agency helped with the hardening of schools and provided active shooter seminars to the school district, but they don't have anything to do with the filing of the safety assessments. 

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, a commission member, said the new state law should require the suspension of a district's superintendent and board chair if the deadline is broken.

At Friday's meeting, the panel was expected to learn more about the medical response to the Parkland attack and was expected to begin discussing possible findings.

The panel has been meeting periodically since April and has a Jan. 1 deadline to provide a report to Gov. Rick Scott on the shooting's causes and recommendations for avoiding any future school attacks.

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