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Grand Jury Slams Schools, Says 'Turf Wars' Hamper Parkland Safety Compliance

19 hours ago

A statewide grand jury has issued a report painting a dire picture of how Florida school districts are implementing security measures passed in response to a mass shooting at a Broward County high school nearly two years ago.

Anxieties multiplied quickly across Baker County, a mostly rural community of 28,000 in northern Florida, when news spread that a 15-year-old had planned a massacre at the county’s only high school.

Dozens of students from across Florida descended on their state Capitol demanding action on gun control Thursday, a day when a deadly school shooting in California prompted panic, helplessness and determination. 

 After being allowed to skip one hearing, a Florida judge on Friday told school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz he must appear in court when issues central to his death penalty case are discussed.

At a morning session, Cruz told Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer he didn’t want to take part in a hearing Friday concerning his alleged assault on a jail corrections officer. Scherer granted his request.

Computer simulations have long helped train doctors in complex medical procedures. Now, tens of thousands of Florida teachers and school staff are using online simulators to learn how to talk to troubled students.

Defense attorneys for the confessed Parkland school shooter are warning that there could be drawbacks to starting his trial early next year.

Last week, Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer ordered prosecutors and Nikolas Cruz’s defense to be ready for jury selection by Jan. 27. But during a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, defense attorneys said they need more time to finish interviewing witnesses and other preparations.

Suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel faced a legislative showdown Monday in the fight to get his job back, amid procedural wrangling that began before senators even began considering his fate.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing a showdown about one of his highest-profile decisions: the ouster of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, whose fate now rests in the hands of the Florida Senate.

The confessed-Parkland school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had a bandage across the bridge of his nose as he stood and raised his handcuffed hand to address a Broward County Courtroom on Wednesday afternoon. 

 

Small Districts Wary Of Parkland Legal Fight

Jul 3, 2019

By Jim Saunders / News Service of Florida

Rural Liberty County is about 500 miles away from Broward County. 

But school officials in Liberty County and other small Northwest Florida counties are watching as the state Supreme Court considers a case that will determine how much the Broward County School Board could be forced to pay to parents and victims in the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

Florida established its risk protection law last year, following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland where 17 people were killed and another 17 wounded.
WLRN

Associated Press

The Florida sheriff who was removed by the governor from his elected office after a school shooting that left 17 people dead is running for his old job in 2020.

Former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel filed paperwork Monday stating his intention to run in the August 2020 Democratic primary.

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Israel in January for his department's response to the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Pinellas County Sheriff  Bob Gualtieri
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

News Service of Florida

HAVANA -- Three minutes and 51 seconds.

That’s how long it took Nikolas Cruz to kill 17 students and staff members and injure another 17 during last year’s shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez speak at USF College of Public Health.
Carrie Pinkard / WUSF Public Media

Sixteen months ago, a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and opened fire.

He killed 17 people and injured 17 others.

David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez were among the students who survived the shooting. They’ve since turned the tragedy into an opportunity to advocate for gun violence awareness around the United States.

New Florida Law Bans Release Of Mass Shooting Recordings

May 24, 2019
WLRN

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that prohibits Florida's government agencies from releasing photos, video or audio that record the killing of a person in an act of mass violence.

Lawyers representing the families of students and staff killed or injured in last year's mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland began filing 20 lawsuits on Wednesday against defendants including: the Broward County School Board, the Broward County Sheriff's Office (BSO), Broward County Sheriff's officer Scot Peterson, MSD campus monitor Andrew Medina and Henderson Behavioral Health Inc. of Florida.

The shared complaint, at least of the first 10 suits filed, is negligence:

On Thursday, Feb. 14, Gail Schwartz drove to the Star of David Memorial Gardens Cemetery in North Lauderdale to visit the grave of her nephew, Alex Schachter.

Schachter was one of the 17 people killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one year ago. He was 14 years old.

One year ago, a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and, within six minutes, took the lives of 17 people and injured 17 others.

In the following months, survivors turned into activists, rallying Florida and the country to get serious about gun control.

“Never again” was the rallying cry.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie abruptly canceled a meeting with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School parents over concerns that the event might draw protesters.

The forum — organized by Stoneman Douglas parent groups and billed as a question-and-answer session with Runcie and other district leaders — was planned for Thursday night in the Parkland school's auditorium.

"Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories" needed to be written, its authors believe, but wish desperately it hadn't.

The book by 43 students and teachers who lived through February's high school massacre gives a poignant, raw, and sometimes graphic look into the six-minute shooting spree where 17 died and its aftermath as a well-off Fort Lauderdale suburb suddenly found itself mourning in a global spotlight that has dimmed but will never reach black.

This week's Florida Board of Education meeting might be the first and last for Andrew Pollack, the father of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim.

On Friday, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected his predecessor's decision to appoint Pollack to the board that oversees schools and community colleges statewide. He also rescinded dozens of other selections announced by then-Gov. Rick Scott during his final days in office.

Broward County schools' superintendent Robert Runcie outlined plans on Thursday to quickly implement some of the key safety recommendations from the state commission tasked with investigating the Parkland shooting, amid criticism from the panel's members, victims' families, and even the new Republican governor.

Survivors of the Parkland high school shooting won't have to go to class on the first anniversary of the shooting that took 17 lives.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students will have the option to report to campus on Feb. 14 for a half-day of community service activities. If students choose not to come to school, they're being encouraged to plan their own community service projects off campus.

Dan Nguyen/flickr

Audio has emerged of Louis C.K. apparently mocking the students-turned-activists from the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

Less than two weeks before Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis is to be sworn into office, embattled Broward Sheriff Scott Israel sent a letter Wednesday to a state-appointed safety committee, highlighting policy changes in his department following the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The publicly released letter, addressed to MSD High School Public Safety Commission Chairman Bob Gualtieri, outlined seven previously announced initiatives by Israel’s department taken since the shooting in Parkland that killed 17 and wounded 17 others.

Bodies. Chaos. The smell of gunpowder and blood. A deputy wandering aimlessly, muttering to himself.

There were plenty of missteps in communication, security and school policy before and during the Florida high school massacre that allowed the gunman to kill 17 people. Now, the state commission investigating the shooting will consider a long list of recommendations addressing these problems statewide.

Wikipedia.com

A judge has rejected a deputy’s claim that he had no duty to confront the gunman during the school shooting in Parkland.

Refusing to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a parent of a victim, Broward Circuit Judge Patti Englander Henning found after a hearing Wednesday that ex-deputy Scot Peterson did have a duty to protect those inside school where 17 people died and 17 were wounded on Feb. 14. Video and other evidence shows Peterson, the only armed officer at the school, remained outside while shots rang out.

This post was updated with additional information at 5:20 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13.

The statewide commission investigating the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting released a draft of its long-awaited recommendations for school safety on Wednesday.

The 16-chapter draft report includes overhauling how schools secure individual classrooms and campus grounds. 

The Florida cities hardest hit by February's high school massacre are receiving a $1 million grant to create artwork aimed at community healing.

Children registering for school in Florida this year were asked to reveal some history about their mental health.

The new requirement is part of a law rushed through the state legislature after the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The state’s school districts now must ask whether a child has ever been referred for mental health services on registration forms for new students.

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