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SPLC Action Fund: Three More Years of Post-Parkland Commission Won’t Protect Our Students from Gun Violence

FLORIDA – On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 1421, a bill extending the term of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission by three years. It also gives the Commission new authority to monitor implementation of “school safety legislation.” In addition, the bill requires districts to partner with law enforcement agencies to assign at least one armed officer to each school, including charter schools, among other provisions.


The following statement is from Bacardi Jackson, interim director of Children’s Rights for the SPLC Action Fund:


"As devastating as the latest string of mass shootings in our country have been, including the senseless murder of 19 elementary students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, states like Florida are predictably turning to school hardening tactics that over the years have done little to prevent these tragedies from happening. 


“These mass shootings do not get any easier. But with each one, fear sets in, and our hearts are completely shattered. Unfortunately, the state response has only deepened our pain and put more lives at risk.


“Amid calls this week for a special legislative session in Florida to address gun violence, Gov. Ron DeSantis instead signed a bill that extends the term of the controversial Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission through 2026 and requires school districts to place an armed officer in each school. The commission is known for its imprudent recommendations that disregard the very students who survived the MSD tragedy and ignore evidence-based strategies and concerns about how excessive surveillance and police presence inside schools endanger Black and Brown students, as well as students with disabilities. Unfortunately, the lack of diversity and needed expertise on the commission reflects these policies.


“We are urging lawmakers and the Governor to take seriously the threat of gun violence by focusing on efforts that will make schools truly safe for all students and school personnel. These measures include common-sense gun safety laws, broad mental health support services for students, adequate resources for teachers, restorative justice practices and trauma-informed training.


“The time is now to act.”