Governor signs legislation to improve school safety in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed new legislation to improve school safety in Florida.

HB 1421, which was signed into law Tuesday, extends the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission; authorizes the commissioner of education to enforce school safety and security compliance; authorizes school safety officers to make arrests on charter school property; requires crisis intervention and training, requires law enforcement to be present and involved in active assailant emergency drills; and requires school boards to adopt family reunification plans and certify that at least 80% of school personnel have received mandatory youth mental health awareness training.

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The bill is based on recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission.

The governor said the newly signed legislation is just part of his administration’s efforts to keep students safe.

“By signing HB 1421, we continue to build on the many steps we have taken since 2019 to implement the recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, while also making record investments in mental health and school safety,” DeSantis said.

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Ryan Petty with the State Board of Education said the bill is a huge step forward in school safety.

“Nothing is more important than providing safe and secure learning environments for our children and educators. Extending the Commission’s work and requiring mental health and de-escalation training for safe-school officers will make a major difference in mitigating the risk of a future tragedy,” Petty said.

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Earlier this year, DeSantis approved his “Freedom First Budget,” which included $140 million for youth mental health awareness and assistance training, as well as $210 million for school safety.

A copy of HB 1421 can be found here.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.