Gov. DeSantis signs Florida school safety bill

Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Gov. Ron DeSantis (Credit: Pool)

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 1421, a bill first filed in January, which takes several measures to improve school safety in Florida.

According to a press release from the governor’s press office, the steps taken by HB 1421 will build on legislation over the last three years to implement the additional recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission meant to make schools safer and improve youth mental health in Florida. In the Freedom First budget, DeSantis also approved $140 million for mental health and $210 million for school safety, including “school-hardening” grants and youth mental health awareness and assistance training.

“Every parent deserves to know their child is safe at school,” said Tony Montalto, the president of Stand with Parkland. “This new law, which passed unanimously through the Florida Legislature, is an important next step in providing school safety assurances to families and students. Florida will continue to do everything possible to make sure our schools meet the highest safety standards and that mental health issues associated with school violence are being addressed.”

HB 1421 does the following:

  • Extends the sunset of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission
  • Authorizes the Commissioner of Education to enforce, rather than just oversee, school safety and security compliance
  • Authorizes safe school officers to make arrests on charter school property
  • Requires all safe school officers to complete crisis intervention and training to improve knowledge and skills for response and for de-escalating incidents on school premises
  • Requires law enforcement officers to be present and involved in active assailant emergency drills
  • Requires school boards to adopt family reunification plans in the event of an evacuation
  • Requires that school districts must annually certify that at least 80% of their school personnel have received mandatory youth mental health awareness training

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