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Since the MSD tragedy in Florida, what has been done to keep children safe?

MIAMI, Fla. – After a tragedy like the one in Uvalde, Texas, at Robb Elementary School, how to prevent something like a deadly school shooting from happening again is an ongoing debate.

Local 10 News took a look at what’s been done in Florida in the past four years since the Parkland tragedy, what we still need to do, and what lawmakers can do nationally.

“You can’t stop all of them, but you can stop some,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

As chair of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Commission, Gualtieri said he knows we’ve come a long way to keep children safe, but more can be done.

“I would say it’s a dramatic change. Change for the better, change for the better. But my caution in saying this is that I don’t want anyone to think we’re done.”

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Since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas attack, law changes have made it mandatory for all 4,000 Florida schools to have a single entry point, an armed security officer, and in-school threat assessment teams.

There are also red flags as a tool to get guns out of the hands of people who may be in crisis.

“Here in Florida we call them risk protection orders, where people have the opportunity to report behavior, law enforcement will analyze the behavior and go to a judge and say, ‘Hey judge, that’s why this person shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun or ammunition. ‘”

But, Gualtieri said, there’s one area Florida needs to improve, and that’s threat assessment, recognizing and seamlessly sharing information about potential hazards before they arise.

“We really, really need a nationwide database, we need to connect that because this threat assessment process and threat management is unique, undoubtedly and clearly the best opportunity to derail the path to violence,” Gualtieri said.

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The changes mentioned, including the single point of entry, armed security guards, and red flag laws, were all signed into law by then-Governor Rick Scott. We asked him if, as a Senator, he would support similar measures nationally.

He said he thinks it should be up to each state to decide.

When we asked State Senator Marco Rubio’s press secretary the same question. She pointed me to a bill he co-sponsored last year that would have encouraged states to implement red flag laws, but the bill got nowhere.

Zalman Myer-Smith, director of the Community Secure Organization, which oversees the safety and education of more than 220 schools and places of worship in the state, said America’s problem is politics. “It’s so politicized and every side wants to hold on to it and we really don’t need to just focus on the outrage. . . We really want our children to go to school, they spend more time at school than at home, in a safe environment. You don’t want to take your kid to school every day and worry God forbid they won’t come home.”

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Myer-Smith, a disaster prevention expert, said there are ways to reduce the risk of the type of attacks in Texas.

“Instead of talking about it, arguing about it and tweeting about it . . . it’s very easy. Three things: single point of entry, an armed security officer, and trained staff. If we do that now, we can usually mitigate that.”

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https://www.local10.com/news/florida/2022/05/27/since-msd-tragedy-what-has-been-done-in-florida-to-keep-kids-safe/ Since the MSD tragedy in Florida, what has been done to keep children safe?

Sarah Y. Kim

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