Parkland, Fla. – (June 4, 2018) On Monday June 4, 2018, in wake of the February 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Broward League of Cities’ School and Community Public Safety Task Force will issue its Initial Report and Recommendations.
“We know there are other groups, commissions and consultants looking at the events leading up to, during and after the massacre at MSD,” explained Mayor Ryan. “We sought to develop an understanding of the various issues which could enhance school and community public safety as rapidly as possible, knowing this would be a first step.”
Formed in March, the Task Force convened ten times, gathering a broad array of stakeholders and subject matter experts on the issues surrounding school safety and security, school resource officers, new laws enacted after the MSD tragedy, discipline programs in schools, available funding currently and in the future for enhancements, and mental health interventions in the area of prevention and post-crisis. The Task Force was co-chaired by Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan and Broward County Mayor Beam Furr.
“The Task Force worked intensely on examining existing policies and procedures and analyzing where we as a community could do better and more to not only protect, but provide earlier interventions to prevent tragedies and violence,” said Mayor Furr. “We were fortunate to have so many important stakeholders involved, including the families and those directly impacted by the tragedy of February 14, 2018.”
In addition to Broward County School Board representatives, law enforcement, fire rescue, community health experts and providers, municipal elected officials, the Task Force included Max Schachter, father of Alex Schacter and April Schentrup, mother of Carmen Schentrup, both of whom are living with the aftermath of the horrible tragedy at MSD, as well as Stacey Lippel, a teacher at MSD who was wounded by the gunman.
“We dedicated staff and energy to making sure we could provide the Task Force as much information as possible and were an active participant in this process,” outlined School Board Member Patti Good. “The Recommendations touch on so much that we as a community need to do to reinforce existing policies, consider new policies and initiate a real dialogue related to resources to provide the safest and most nurturing environment possible for educating our students and protecting them and our staff.”
With the upcoming budget season for the School Board, County Commission, law and fire agencies, and municipalities, the Task Force intended to provide information necessary for decision makers and the public to be informed before upcoming budget hearings and the next school year.
“This is just an Initial Report and starts the process of comprehensive action to protect the students, faculty, staff, residents schools and communities,” said Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky. “One important lesson that must be learned is that all agencies must be vigilant to prevent failures that can occur when policies and best practices are not followed.”
Both Mayor Ryan and Mayor Furr emphasized that there are some strategies which can be implemented now to make our schools and community safer. But, they explained, there are so many recommendations that will require financial commitment from policy makers and the public, as well as Tallahassee’s assistance.
“In the end, the Florida Constitution specifically says that education of our children in a safe and secure environment is a fundamental value of the State of Florida and it is the paramount duty of the State to make adequate provision for safe and secure public schools,” said Mayor Ryan. “The Task Force was unanimous that only a comprehensive approach to protecting all of our schools and our community-at-large will ever achieve the level of protection our students, teachers, families and community have a right to demand.”