Parkland School Commission Calls For New Safety Measures To Protect Students From Gun Violence

A state commission is blaming poor leadership and unenforced policies for the tragic massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

People gather for gun control rally in Parkland, Florida.
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A state commission is blaming poor leadership and unenforced policies for the tragic massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

It’s been nine months since the tragic Valentines Day Massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. The shooting led to 17 deaths at the Parkland County High School in Florida. In the months following, there has been much speculation as to who could have done more to prevent the senseless tragedy. According to NPR, a state commission is looking into the governments role in the massacre.

The safety commission — which was established by the state of Florida in the wake of the shooting — is composed partly of the parents of children killed in the massacre. They met for four days last week to review every painful second of the shooting, and to consider what law enforcement did, or failed to do, to save their children’s lives. They are now composing a report detailing recommended precautions to prevent such an event from ever happening again. The commissions findings will likely be reviewed by educational leaders across the country.

Within their findings, the commission noted that the security officer assigned to Stoneman Douglas actually hid for a full hour while the shooting took place — rather than trying to render assistance during the situation. The school’s security officer, Scot Peterson, was absent from the commission’s meetings.

Instead, his lawyer arrived to let everyone know that Peterson plans to sue them for their claims. “He didn’t do his job,” Fred Guttenberg said, adding that his 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, might not be dead if Peterson had taken action. Guttenberg wasn’t the only one disgusted by the officer’s failure to face the parents of the slain children. Senator Lauren Book, a state lawmaker on the panel, even went so far as to call him a coward.

“For him not to face these families, for him not to face this community, shows what a coward he is, how pathetic he is and we’re going to continue to work to get to the bottom of it.”

The school’s security footage also failed the students. Because the footage was delayed by 26 minutes, law enforcement thought that the shooter was still in the building — causing them to waste precious moments that could have been spent helping the injured.

There are a number of changes the panel would like to see made at this point in their deliberations.

They are calling for code red alarms, and for bleeding kits to be made available in all schools. Along with the bleeding kits, school professionals would be trained on how to administer first aid to wounded patients. Most importantly, the panel hopes to see real legislative changes to protect these students — and to prevent yet another senseless tragedy in the future.