Florida principals impacted by school violence release guide on dealing with tragedies

Principals impacted by school violence just released a new resource book to guide leaders on how to deal with on-campus tragedies. Some of the principals who helped write the guide are from Florida. 

The free resource breaks down how districts can be proactive and reactive to handling incidents. The principals who worked on this were either on staff at the time of the incident or took over shortly after - like Elizabeth Brown. 

"I took over 45 days after the shooting," said Brown. 

Brown served as the principal after the 2018 shooting at Forest High School in Ocala. One student was hurt after a former student, Sky Bouche, got on campus and shot into a classroom. 

"My first day, I walked into my office and my entire first day was spent talking with parents about school safety," said Brown. 

Now she's talking with other principals from across the country as part of the Principal Recovery Network.

"Former principal of Columbine High School, have former principal of Marjory Stoneman, new principal of Sandy Hook," said Brown. 

She helped start the Principal Recovery Network in 2018. Since then, they've provided comfort to school leaders who've dealt with violence on campus. Brown says they reach out every time they hear of an incident to offer support. They primarily work with principals who have dealt with either knife or gun violence on campus. 

"Reached out to 12 - 20 principals in the first year. Since then, well over 50," said Brown. 

The group recently released a free resource guide on recovering from tragedies -- including how to re-open a school and how to honor somber anniversaries. 

"Other entities involved in school safety will use this as they analyze school safety plans," said Brown. 

The group estimates there have already been over two dozen school shootings this year alone in the U.S. A concerning stat they say further highlights the need for this guide. 

"Open it, know it's written by people who walked the walk," said Brown. 

The Forest High School shooter, Sky Bouche, was sentenced to 30 years in prison last April. 

If you're interested in viewing the guide, click here. Link to guide: Principal Recovery Network | NASSP