Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. speaks to the Florida Association of School Resource Officers

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Florida Department of Education press release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Association of School Resource Officers (FASRO) concluded its annual conference providing professional development and training for law enforcement officers.

Key takeaways from the FASRO conference include:

  • Establishment of new requirements under House Bill 1421including the requirement that each school district annually certify that at least 80% of elementary, middle and high school school staff have received the required training in youth mental health awareness and support.
  • A reaffirmed commitment for law enforcement to be physically present and directly involved in active emergency drills against aggressors.
  • New features for School Safety Risk Assessment, which helps schools strengthen additional safety measures.
  • Best practices for family reunification plans to quickly reunite parents and students following school emergencies.

Florida Commissioner of Education, Manny Diaz, Jr., gave a keynote address to kick off the conference in Orlando.

“My number one priority is the health, safety, and well-being of Florida students, teachers, and school staff,” said Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr.. “While there are so many important parts of education that we often focus on – quality teaching, assessments, curricula – none of that matters if students don’t go home. them at the end of the day. Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ recent initiatives, Florida is focused on school safety and will continue to do everything possible to keep our children and educators safe in the classroom.

“Thanks to the work of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission and recently enacted legislation, Florida is leading the way in school safety,” said Ryan Petty, member of the State Board of Education. “There was a culture change from the ground up, and I am proud of the preparation and dedication of our law enforcement officers, school safety officers and guardians. Despite the many improvements to school safety, we can never rest. We will explore all avenues to make our schools safer and ensure that students receive the services needed to prevent violence. »

The Florida Department of Education and Governor Ron DeSantis prioritize the safety of students and teachers. Dynamic school safety legislation has been enacted and implemented every year since the 2018 tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, beginning with one of the most important of those mandates – the requirement that every public school have one or more school security officers assigned to each school.

Since 2019, Governor DeSantis has prioritized funding for school safety and mental health in Florida and has increased the amount of funding for these initiatives each year he is in office.

Earlier this year, Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 1421 to build on legislation from the past three years to implement additional recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission to make schools safer. and improve the mental health of young people in Florida. In the Freedom First Budget, Governor DeSantis also approved a record nearly $400 million for mental health and school safety, including school enhancement grants and health awareness and assistance training. mentality of young people.

In 2021, the governor signed Senate Bill 590, which required school administrators to collect data on involuntary student examinations and report the data to the Florida Department of Education; requires school safety officers to receive mental health training; and required schools to provide timely notification of threats, illegal acts and major emergencies. In the 2021-22 fiscal year, the governor signed $368 million into the budget for school safety and mental health funding, including:

  • $120 million for the Mental Health Assistance Benefit, an increase of $20 million from 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 in emergencies.

These bills strengthened child protections by increasing communication and notifications before a student is subjected to involuntary examination, and required additional mental health training for teachers and students in teacher preparation programs.

In 2020, the Governor signed Senate Bill 70, Alyssa’s Law, which required the Florida Department of Education to use funds and work with public schools to implement a system of panic alert to ensure real-time coordination between first responders. For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the Governor signed $342 million for school safety and mental health funding, including:

  • $100 million for the Mental Health Assistance Benefit, an increase of $25 million from the previous year;
  • $180 million maintained for the Safe Schools component of the FEFP;
  • $3 million for recurring funding to collect and analyze data from social media and state agencies; and
  • $8 million for Alyssa’s Law, to set up a panic alert system between schools and emergency services.

In 2019, the Governor signed legislation to implement recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission and issued Executive Order 19-45 to require the Department of Education to communicate best practices on school safety to all school districts. In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the Governor approved $317 million for school safety and mental health funding, including:

  • $180 million for the Safe Schools component of the FEFP;
  • Over $80 million for the Mental Health Support Grant and Youth Mental Health Awareness; and
  • $50 million for School Reinforcement Grants to improve the safety of school campuses.


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