In the wake of Nikolas Cruz’s murder spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, a 15-member commission was appointed to study ways in which Florida’s public schools could be secured against such attacks. The commission released its report today. The report doesn’t mince words in detailing the incompetence, and perhaps cowardice, that amplified the scale of the tragedy:
The state commission investigating the Parkland school shooting unanimously approved a tough final report Wednesday that puts the responsibility for reform on school districts, law enforcement agencies, Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis and state legislative leaders.
The 458-page report by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission addresses the cascade of errors revealed in the wake of the shooting, including fumbled tips, lax school security policies and unaggressive Broward sheriff’s deputies who hung back as shots were fired.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chairman of the commission, said many recommendations could have been implemented a long time ago had school safety been treated with the importance it deserved, particularly by school districts.
The commission’s recommendations seem entirely sensible:
The report contains dozens of recommendations. Some would require action by the governor and Legislature, such as the proposals to allow some teachers to carry guns and increase spending on school security. It also calls for laws to be changed to allow school districts to raise taxes for security improvements and to require rather than simply permit mental health providers to notify law enforcement if a patient threatens anyone with harm.
While the selective, voluntary arming of teachers is just one of numerous recommendations, it has gotten the most attention in newspaper headlines. Perhaps appropriately, as it is an important measure. The Commission’s chairman talked about the issue at today’s press conference:
[Pinellas County Sheriff Bob] Gualtieri spoke forcefully in favor of the commission’s proposal to arm teachers, noting that the shooter had paused five times to reload — providing opportunities to stop him.
“So what are we saying to people — we’re not going to allow you to defend yourself, we’re not going to allow you to defend the kids — why? Because of some ideology that we don’t like guns? Anyone who thinks they’re going to get rid of guns is crazy,” he said. “It isn’t going to happen. We’ve got to do something differently and people should be able to protect themselves.”
Let’s hope state and county officials in Florida pay close attention to the commission’s recommendations. You can read the commission’s report here.