By Rob Morse
Florida formed a study committee after 17 students and teachers were killed and an additional 17 were injured at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in early 2018. I read some of the MSDHS safety commission report. It covered the obvious points. Unfortunately, I don’t see much good coming out of it. This was more than a school failure; it was a political failure. More of our children will be at risk and some will die because of problems in the Florida legislature. Sure, implement the suggestions in the report, but please don’t stop there.
The report told us to do the obvious. A school could have received nearly the same recommendations from almost any firearms instructor or security consultant.
- Have a safety plan. Study what worked for others and adapt it to your situation.
- Teach people what to do in case of an emergency.
- Report suspicious activity and act on those reports.
- Lock your doors.
- Select a safe place in which to shelter in case of an attack.
- Contact second responders like the police and EMTs.
- Have trained individuals on site to stop the threat and treat the injured until secondary responders arrive.
- Conduct frequent safety drills so everyone knows what to do. Grade people on their performance.
- Schools and churches should conduct multi-agency safety exercises so police, fire, and EMTs know how to respond to each particular site.
- Update your safety program based on the lessons learned from each exercise.
Do those recommendations surprise anyone? That list sounds simplistic and that is a fair criticism. Unfortunately, school and police officials failed to do even those simple things. This is what the report should have said.
-Many police and school staff failed in their assigned jobs. Widespread failure is a sign of poor leadership. These staff were retained in their positions for political reasons rather than being dismissed. That indicates corrupt management.
-Rather than seeking to immediately improve school safety after the attack, the police and school organizations acted to cover up their failings. Provide alternative educational opportunities so parents can escape these failed institutions.
-If possible, have state executives remove these failed officials from office. Prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
-To prevent similar failures in the future, revise state limited immunity statutes so individuals working in state and local government may be held criminally and civilly liable for their actions.
-Existing safety programs like the Florida school guardian program were crafted to provide political cover rather than to protect students. The existing guardian program deliberately excludes classroom teachers from being first responders because of union opposition. The school guardian program un-necessarily burdens schools and school boards as they work to improve school safety. Change legislations so school boards may develop their own safety programs separate from the guardian program. Allow Florida schools to adopt safety programs modeled after the successful programs used in other states.
At least the report said trained volunteer teachers should be armed.