JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida lawmakers are looking to enhance school safety.
A bill first filed in January aims to develop threat assessment teams, safe-school officers, certain emergency drills, and more.
One day after 19 children and two adults were murdered at an elementary school in Texas, Florida officials signed and presented house bill 1421 to Governor DeSantis addressing School Safety.
In a statement to News4Jax, Florida Representative Fred Hawkins says “The signing of this Bill will enhance Florida School safety and also bolster law enforcements role in incident prevention.”
Details about the police response to the mass shooting in Texas have sparked criticism.
The Texas Department of Public Safety Director says officials made the wrong decision in waiting to breach the room where the shooter was.
Reports say officers waited outside the classroom in the school for more than 50 minutes.
The Department of Justice says it plans to review the response to get an “Independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events.”
Florida politicians say they too will study what happened in Texas and everywhere else to make sure they aren’t missing anything when it comes to school safety, protocols, and incident prevention.
The bill also has an emphasis on mental health.
It includes training for faculty and students protocol and mental health crisis intervention training.
Hawkins says mental health training measures “Allow law enforcement personnel and school staff to in effect become more sensitive to the warning signs of someone who is deeply troubled and thus mitigate risk before incidents have a chance to occur.”
He says their thoughts and prayers are with Texas and that “We must remain vigilant and train to recognize how best to react to such incidents and also learn how to defuse such events from occurring in the first place. HB 1421 is another step in the right direction to keep Florida Schools safe.”
If Gov. DeSantis signs the bill it will go into effect July 1.