DeSantis Signs School Safety Bill Addressing Issues Leading Up to Parkland Massacre

DeSantis Signs School Safety Bill Addressing Issues Leading Up to Parkland Massacre

DeSantis signed a school safety bill driven by the horrors that occurred at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
May 7, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Governor Ron DeSantis signed a school safety measure into law Monday night to prevent shootings, prompted by the 2018 Valentine's Day massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

The bipartisan bill, HB 1473, requires all doors and gates to be locked during school hours unless a staff member is guarding them. Furthermore, it mandates a surprise inspection of public and charter schools every three years to make sure the school's safety requirements are up to par.

"As the former Mayor of Parkland, I appreciate our commitment to school safety," Democratic Rep. Christine Hunchofsky, a co-sponsor of the bill, told The Floridian in a statement. "It was an honor to work with my colleague, Representative Dana Trabulsy, and many other stakeholders on this bill which is another step toward keeping our students, teachers, school administration, and staff safe."

On February 14th, 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 to open fire on his former high school, killing 17 students and staff, and injuring 17 others. The prosecution sought the death penalty, though in a 9-3 decision, Cruz was sentenced to life in prison.

Following outrage over this decision from the victims' families, the Florida Legislature in 2023 passed a bill changing death penalty verdict requirements from a unanimous decision to an 8-4 decision.

In 2022, they also passed a bipartisan law raising the age to buy long guns from 18 to 21. During the 2024 Session and in a hotly contested move, many Republicans tried—and failed—to overturn this law and return the statute to the pre-Parkland era.

Cruz, who told a psychologist he chose Valentine's Day because no one loved him and he wanted to forever ruin the school's celebration of the day, had had issues with law enforcement, social services, and school administration multiple times before the shooting occurred.

This lack of both communication and response was part of the impetus for HB 1473, which requires a superintendent to inform an institution of any alleged delinquent acts by a student within one day of receiving notification from law enforcement.

The bill also bans a person from flying unauthorized drones over any school, hoping to prevent future assailants from scoping out a school's layout.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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