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Grand Jury: Florida Schools, Police Bickering Over Security

Armed Guardians work at the Manatee School for the Arts.
Manatee School for the Arts
Armed Guardians work at the Manatee School for the Arts.

Some Florida school districts and law enforcement agencies have not fully complied with security measures enacted after a 2018 high school massacre because they are bickering over who is responsible, an interim report by a statewide grand jury says.

The panel said in a three-page report released late Friday that it has "seen and heard troubling evidence of conflicts" between school and law enforcement officials over who is responsible for implementing the new laws and said that has to stop. The new laws required school districts to place police or armed guards on all campuses, implement and improve systems for reporting threats and better provide mental health services for troubled students. The laws were enacted after a former student with a history of mental problems killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.

"The responsibility of securing our schools is not a matter to be passed from agency to agency, it is not a budget item to be haggled over, and it is not an agenda issue to be whittled down by negotiation into minimum legally sufficient actions," the report says. It does not identify the districts and law enforcement agencies that are not in compliance because the jury's investigation is not complete.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement her office will enforce the laws if districts aren't in compliance.

"Let me be very clear, elected officials in school districts blatantly and irresponsibly shirking these extremely important public safety measures need to take steps immediately to comply with the law before the school year begins and we put our children in your trust and care," she said.

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