On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1421, which takes several measures to improve school safety in Florida.
The steps taken by HB 1421 build on legislation over the last three years to implement the additional recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission to make schools safer and improve youth mental health in Florida.
In the Freedom First Budget, Governor DeSantis also approved a record $140 million for mental health and $210 million for school safety, including school hardening grants and youth mental health awareness and assistance training.
“Every child needs a safe and secure learning environment,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “By signing HB 1421, we continue to build on the many steps we have taken since 2019 to implement the recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, while also making record investments in mental health and school safety.”
- Extends the sunset of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission;
- Authorizes the Commissioner of Education to enforce, rather than just oversee, school safety and security compliance;
- Authorizes safe school officers to make arrests on charter school property;
- Requires all safe school officers to complete crisis intervention and training to improve knowledge and skills for response and de-escalate incidents on school premises;
- Requires law enforcement officers to be present and involved in active assailant emergency drills;
- Requires school boards to adopt family reunification plans in the event of an evacuation; and
- Requires that school districts must annually certify that at least 80 percent of school personnel have received mandatory youth mental health awareness training.
- $120 million for the Mental Health Assistance Allocation, an increase of $20 million over the previous year;
- $180 million maintained for the Safe Schools component of the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP); and
- $6.5 million for the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program to train teachers and staff for emergencies.
- $100 million for Mental Health Assistance Allocation, an increase of $25 million over the previous year;
- $180 million maintained for the Safe Schools component of the FEFP;
- $3 million for recurring funding to gather an analyze data from social media and state agencies; and
- $8 million for Alyssa’s Law, to implement a panic alert system between schools and emergency services.
- $180 million for the Safe Schools component of the FEFP;
- Over $80 million for Mental Health Assistance Allocation and for Youth Mental Health awareness; and
- $50 million for school hardening grants to improve security of school campuses.