WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — In an effort to keep Florida’s children safe, Sheriff Grady Judd and Representative Ross Spano rolled out a laundry list of new school safety measures.
Putting fences up, installing cameras, and rming teachers are just a few of the proposals.
The list will go before law makers this legislative session.
“It’s really hard to keep such a huge campus safe,” LaRay Donn, a mother said.
For parents it’s a do or die situation, when it comes to keeping kids alive in school.
Bill Kranek, a grandfather with two grandchildren at Auburndale Senior High, says it’s times to fight back.
“Take the gun free zone signs down and make it a no kill zone,” Kranek says he believes arming teachers will create opposition for the attackers. He says it could make the person threatening, think twice.
Representative Ross Spano and Sheriff Grady Judd plan to push these following proposals through legislation;
- Dedicate matching state funds for school district spending on hardening school facilities
- Allocate state funding for at least one armed School Resource Officer (SRO) on every public school campus
- Expand the "Sentinel Program" - voluntary program for teachers, administrators, volunteers (active and retired military and law enforcement) and parents who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon; participants would be required to pass enhanced background checks, undergo emotional/psychological evaluation and complete comprehensive standardized training
- Pass legislation to criminalize threats, providing law enforcement and prosecutors the necessary tools to intervene when threats are reported
- Mandate reporting by individuals with custodial responsibilities (health care professionals, guidance counselors, school nurses, teachers, administrators, day care providers, etc.) to strengthen "see something, say something"
- Develop process by which the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) can create a standardized security and risk assessment for school districts to implement with local law enforcement
- Request Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC) create standardized curriculums for Sentinel Program and Active Shooter Training
- Protect people attending religious services by passing the Church Protection Act (SB 1048 / HB 1419) - enables churches and other house of worship to allow members of their congregation who are licensed to carry a concealed firearm to carry during services; not effective during school hours (if a church has a school) or during school extracurricular activities
- Introduce Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs)
a. GVROs would permit a narrowly defined group of people (law enforcement, spouse, parent, sibling, roommate, etc.) to petition the court for an order to temporarily remove a troubled individual's gun rights
b. Petitioners must provide clear, convincing, admissible evidence that the respondent is a significant danger to himself / herself or others
c. The order must be appealable, ie: respondent has an opportunity to contest the claims
d. The order should lapse after a defined period of time unless petitioners or the state can produce clear and convincing evidence that it should remain in place
e. In the event of an emergency order (granted before the respondent can contest the claims), a full hearing should be scheduled quickly
f. Includes penalties for false reporting
Guns of course have been the hottest topic when it comes to school shootings, but were not the only thing discussed at Friday’s press conference.
Sheriff Judd says the bottom line is protecting children.
“Make no mistake about it, it is a horrible thought about having a gun fight on the school campus with children around, but it is a worse thought to not have a gun fight and to allow the crazed person to just slaughter our children,” Sheriff Judd said.
Parents agree something has to happen, but many do not agree with every single recommendation that the Representative and the sheriff proposed.
“Fences don’t keep people out, it will just keep people in ,it doesn’t keep bad people out,” Kranek said.
“Teachers have to worry about teaching our students, they shouldn’t have to worry about 'oh am I locked and loaded,'” Donna said.
With only two weeks left in the legislative session, Representative Ross Spano says there is a lot of work to do and even proposed a special session to get it completed.