TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – In the wake of the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, in which 17 people were killed, Governor Rick Scott has laid out his three-point action plan to enhance safety in schools.
Scott and lawmakers were moved to action after thousands of students, teachers, parents and concerned citizens stormed the Capitol building Wednesday demanding gun reform.
Scott said his plan is divided into three parts; guns, school safety, and mental health.
“Much of what I’m proposing involves giving law enforcement the ability to stop people from harming themselves and others while giving them the tools to keep our schools safe,” said Scott. “We know for certain that we cannot simply rely on the current federal background check system.”
The governor said he wants to make it virtually impossible for anyone with mental issues, or some who is a danger to themselves or others, to have access to guns.
He announced that they would be starting a new program, a Violent Threat Restraining Order, which will allow a court to prohibit a violent or mentally ill person from purchasing or possessing a firearm when a family member, community welfare expert, or law enforcement officer files a sworn request and presents evidence to a court of a threat of violence involving firearms or other weapons.
Scott said they will also be strengthening gun purchase and possession restrictions for persons committed under the Baker Act. If a court involuntarily commits person, they will have to surrender all firearms and not regain the right to purchase or possess a firearm until a court hearing
Scott has proposed a sixty day waiting period for the person to request that the court restore their access to firearms.
The governor said the state will raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21-years-old. The exceptions will be active duty, reserve military and spouses, National Guard, and law enforcement.
A person will be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm in they are subject to injunction of stalking, cyberstalking, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence or domestic violence
The governor said there will be enhanced criminal penalties for threats to schools, like social media threats of shootings or bombings. There will also be enhanced penalties for a person purchasing or possessing a gun after they have been denied by state law access to a firearm.
Scott said the state will implement a ban on the purchase or sale of bump stocks.
The second part of the plan deals with school safety.
The governor said the state will contribute $450 million to keep students safe.
The state will make it mandatory for every public school to have a law enforcement officer. These officers must be sworn sheriff’s deputies or police officers and they must be present all hours students are on campus.
The size of the campus will determine how many officers are needed. Scott has proposed one officer for every 1,000 students.
The requirement must be implemented by the start of the new 2018-2019 school year.
County sheriff’s departments will be allowed to train additional school personnel and reserve law enforcement officers to protect students if requested by the local school board.
Every public school must have mandatory active shooter training as outlined by U.S. Department of Homeland Security. All training and Code Red drills must be completed during the first week of each semester in all public schools.
Scott said the state will be increasing funding for safe schools allocation to address specific school safety needs within each school district. This includes school hardening methods like metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors, and upgraded locks.
All school safety plans must be submitted to county sheriff’s office by July 1st each year for approval.
School districts will be required to take all capital outlay funds from taxpayers and use them for school hardening before they can be spent on any other capital outlay. All safe school spending must be done in accordance with the plan submitted to sheriff’s office.
Scott said all school districts must enter into an agreement with their local sheriff’s office, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Children and Families, law enforcement and any community behavioral health provider to share information. That will allow for better coordination to provide prevention or intervention strategies, according to Scott.
The state will also set up a new, anonymous, K-12 “See Something, Say Something” hotline, website, and mobile app.
The mental prong of Scott’s plan will establish funding and require dedicated mental health counselors to provide direct counseling services to students at every school. Counselors cannot serve dual roles – like teaching or academic advising.
Every student must have the opportunity for one-on-one time with a mental health professional and receive ongoing counseling as needed.
Each school must have a threat assessment team. The team must include a teacher, a law enforcement officer, a human resource officer, a DCF employee, a Dept. of Juvenile Justice employee, and the principal of the school. They will be required to meet monthly to review any potential threats to students or staff.
Crisis intervention training will be required of all school personnel, this training must be completed before the start of the 2018 school year.
Scott said $50 million will go toward mental health initiatives and the expansion of mental health service teams statewide to serve youth and young adults with early or serious mental health issues.
Finally, moving forward, every sheriff’s office must have a DCF case manager embedded in the department to solely work as a crisis welfare worker for repeat cases in the community.