Following last week’s mass shooting that left 17 people dead and 15 others injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Gov. Rick Scott said it was time to have a “real conversation” about school safety.
On Tuesday, Scott will sit down with state and local leaders to have that conversation.
“I have spent the last week in Parkland talking to members of the community, students and families of the victims who are suffering following this horrific shooting,” Scott said Monday afternoon. “While there are only three weeks left of the legislative session, we must make changes to keep students safe. A tragedy like what occurred in Broward County must never happen again and swift action is needed now.”
Last Wednesday, despite warning signs of erratic behavior and a tip to the FBI about a suspicious individual, authorities say 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was able to walk onto the campus of Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire with an AR-15 assault gun. Among the charges he faces are 17 counts of premeditated murder.
The Governor’s Office has organized a series of three workshops to be held Tuesday in Tallahassee to look for solutions. The groups will consist of law enforcement, school administrators, teachers, mental health experts, and state agency leadership.
One of those workshops will focus on school safety and how to make campuses more secure. It will look at ways to update school security protocols and emergency plans.
A mental health and child welfare workshop will consider ways to expand mental health services in Florida with an emphasis on students. It will also look for ways to better coordinate behavioral health services provided by state, local and private organizations.
The third workshop will concentrate on gun laws. It will address ways to make sure Floridians who are coping with mental illness do not have access to guns. The group will also focus on other possible changes to gun laws.
Scott said last week that when it came to looking for ways to improve school safety, “everything’s on the table.”
“I am bringing local and state leaders together to find solutions on how to prevent violence in our schools and keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill individuals,” Scott added. “This is an urgent matter that we must address quickly.”
The three workshops will be held throughout the day on Tuesday. Later in the afternoon, the governor will then sit down with leaders from the workshops in a roundtable discussion to talk about ways the state might be able to prevent another tragedy like last week’s mass shooting from occurring again.