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Assessing School Safety After MSD Public Safety Commission Report

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Law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on Feb. 15, 2018 in Parkland, Fla. A day earlier a gunman opened fire in the school.

The initial Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission report which was sent to the Governor’s office this week recommends enforcing active shooter drills in school –Code Red drills–, hardening schools and arming teachers. WLRN reporter Caitie Switalski joins Intersection along with security consultant Zach Hudson and Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma to explain what’s in the report and what it means for schools across the state.

“I think advocates of hardening schools instead of gun control are very happy with this report,” says Switalski.

Code Red drills are required by state law, but many schools don’t have a written policy on drills.

“I think when you talk about responsibility, it should fall on everyone who’s on site,” says Hudson.

“It shouldn’t fall on one single officer.”

The investigation analyzed the response time and actions of school staff and Broward County Sheriff’s deputies during the Parkland shooting.

“The policy seems rather obvious. The good guys have to engage the bad guys as quickly as possible,” says Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma.

“Reading the report, we weren’t surprised with any of the recommendations that came out of the report at all, and quite frankly, after Columbine, and these recent active shooter and active killer situations, it’s kind of a shift that we made a long time ago,” he says.

Lemma says the Seminole County sheriff’s office and school district are improving the way they conduct drills after miscommunication about a recent ‘code red’ drill at Lake Brantley High School that led some students and parents to believe there was an actual shooting.

“We’ve redesigned our drills to make sure there’s no confusion about the active threat assessment,” says Lemma.

Click on the link above to listen to the full conversation. 

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About Emily Lang

Emily Lang