St. Petersburg, Fl. – In the first meeting in 2020 for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, members expressed concern about school safety because no legislation came out of their recommendations from last year.
What You Need To Know
- MSD Safety Commission meets for first time in almost a year
- Commission approved settlement, discussed legislative agenda and updates to better school safety
- Office of Safe Schools granted flexibility to districts in performing emergency drills
In the virtual meeting, members approved a settlement of a civil lawsuit against the group.
The settlement aims at providing more public access to the commission meetings.
Other topics included evaluating Florida's threat reporting app called FortifyFL.
A recent survey cited by taskforce member Max Schachter, who lost his son in the Parkland shooting, found it was receiving spam.
Commission members said there are competing services in different districts.
The group is also working on moving its next meeting in October to January or February before the legislative session of next year.
The Florida Legislature failed to pass any of the commission's final recommendations during this year’s session.
As students head back to on campus learning, parents have to keep in mind the law requires that active shooter drills be completed.
How are schools going to accomplish this amid the pandemic?
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Chairman of the MSD Safety Commission, said active shooter drills that keep students and teachers safe from COVID-19 will be a work in progress.
He updated the group with examples of some counties that have already done them.
Sheriff Gualtieri spoke to Spectrum News ahead of the safety meeting and said you don't want to address one problem by creating another.
"The way it will be happening at most places is that a lot of it will be, at least at first, a discussion with the kids about it,” Sheriff Gualtieri explained. “Maybe some in-place, if you will, type of drilling and just to remind them what the best actions and reactions are. At the appropriate time, I think it will transition more into what it has been in the past."
Earlier this month, the Office of Safe Schools sent out a memo with guidance on suggested modifications to practice the drills along with COVID-19 safety precautions.
Among them are to hold evacuation drills with social distancing in mind.
The memo also suggested implementing a rotating schedule to limit the number of students participating, holding drills on different days or times of the day, having each classroom drill individually or to hold lockdown drills involving one student at a time.
Every district has to complete at least one active shooter drill within 30 days of schools reopening.