Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill to improve school safety in Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 07: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces that he wants to raise the minimum starting salary for teachers during a press conference held at Bayview Elementary School on October 07, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Th

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that would help improve school safety in the state. 

"Every child needs a safe and secure learning environment," said Gov. DeSantis. "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 the governor's office, HB 1421: 

  • 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 de-escalate 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; and
  • Requires that school districts must annually certify that at least 80 percent of school personnel have received mandatory youth mental health awareness training.

In the Freedom First Budget, Gov. DeSantis also approved a $140 million for mental health and $210 million for school safety.