By Sharon Aron Baron
A bill to report school safety issues called the ‘Parents Need to Know’ Act requires schools to notify parents and staff within 24 hours when a threat or incident has taken place on campus and include what actions were taken in response to the threat.
Rep. Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs, filed HB 951, and in the Senate, a companion will be filed by Sen Shevrin Jones, D-Miami Gardens,
Rep. Daley said it is our collective responsibility to make the world a safer place for our children, and this legislation would put protocols in place that would potentially save countless lives.
“As a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, nothing is more important to me than taking action to ensure that a tragedy like what our community experienced never happens again.”
While a court recently decided the Broward County School District had no duty to warn parents of the Parkland shooter’s threats, they believed that decision to be a reckless precedent. They took action by filing ‘The Parents Need to Know’ Act, requiring schools to transparently communicate with parents and staff regarding their children’s safety and create a hotline and online reporting system.
Sen Jones said, “Ever since that horrific day three years ago, the families and classmates of those lost in the Parkland tragedy have channeled their heartbreak into remarkable action to ensure others don’t have to endure the same pain. This legislation will empower communities across the state with information that will ultimately make our students and schools safer before more innocent lives are lost.”
April Schentrup, the mother of Carmen, one of the 17 victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, was told her children’s school was safe until it became the crime scene for the worst mass shooting at a US high school.
She said it turned out that serious safety concerns were not reported to all parents, students, and school staff when they occurred.
“Enacting the “‘Parents Need to Know’ Act may be too late for my daughter, Carmen, and the 16 other victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but it is not too late to keep other staff and students safe in Florida’s schools. Parents and the school community should KNOW if their schools are safe, not hope and pray that they are,” said Schentrup.
Stand with Parkland The National Association of Families for Safe Schools is grateful to Rep Daley and Sen Jones for introducing this important bill that helps safeguard Florida’s children.
Tony Montalto, President of the organization, said their Secretary, Phil Schentrup, brought this idea to their Board over a year ago, and they all worked to craft a plan to close a dangerous gap in school safety. After a judge in a state circuit court said that the school district had no requirement to warn parents about threats to their children’s school in the Parkland massacre, Montalto said this should send chills down your spine if you are a parent with children in Florida’s schools.
“How can you keep your kids safe if you don’t know about the threats they face? When ‘Parents Need to Know’ is passed, it will provide vital information to Florida’s families and allow them to take appropriate action.”
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