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Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill requiring School Safety training for on-campus officers

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed bill that will require “crisis intervention” training for on-campus officers in an effort to make schools safer in response to the deadly school shootings that took place in Uvalde, Texas. 

The bill will make an effort to improve the transparency of a student’s mental health at a school with certain safety and security measures being taken by trained officers. 

DeSantis said he believes that be signing this bill, the state is taking effective measures to making children that attend public schools safe. 

“Every child needs a safe and secure learning environment,” DeSantis said “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.” 

According to School Safety bill HB 1421, Here’s what the bill offers:  

  1. Requiring the Office of Safe Schools (OSS) to develop a model family reunification plan that guides family reunification when K-12 public schools are closed or unexpectedly evacuated due to natural or manmade disasters, and requiring district school boards and charter school governing boards to adopt a reunification plan. 
  1. Requiring that the State Board of Education adopt rules setting requirements for emergency drills including timing, frequency, participation, training, notification, and accommodations, and requiring that law enforcement officers responsible for responding to schools in the event of an assailant emergency be physically present and participate in active assailant drills. 
  1. Requiring the Department of Education (DOE) to annually publish school safety and environmental incident reporting data in a uniform, statewide format that is easy to read and understand. 
  1. Requiring safe-school officers that are sworn law enforcement officers to complete mental health crisis intervention training, and requiring safe-school officers that are not sworn law enforcement officers to receive training on incident response and de-escalation. 
  1. Requiring that school district and local mobile response teams use the same suicide screening tool approved by the DOE. 
  1. Requiring that school districts annually certify, beginning July 1, 2023, that at least 80 percent of school personnel received the mandatory youth mental health awareness training. 
  1. Requiring the OSS to maintain a directory of public school diversion programs, providing to school districts information on the proper use of the School Safety Awareness Program, including the consequences of knowingly submitting false information, and providing a similar notification to users of the Fortify FL system. 
  1. The bill extends the sunset date of the MSD Commission until July 1, 2026, for the purpose of monitoring implementation of school safety legislation, and specifies additional duties. The bill also requires the Commissioner of Education to oversee and enforce school safety and security compliance in the state. 

 These provisions will go into effect on July 1, 2022. 

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