Stung by criticism, Broward School Board approves new security measures

A year after the Parkland shooting, the Broward County School Board made good on its promise to enact policies to help prevent the same types of failures that contributed to the deaths of 17 people.

The School Board adopted policies Wednesday that identify when school staff must call for a Code Red lockdown, as well requiring classrooms to be equipped with places for students to hide from an active shooter.

But that doesn’t mean the work is over. The board still faces challenges in making sure everyone understands and follows the new policies.

It was the first meeting since Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans Feb. 13 to seek a grand jury to review how well Broward schools have handled security matters. The grand jury was never mentioned in the meeting, but the bickering that has defined recent School Board meetings was noticeably absent. Board members also seemed well aware of public criticism that they’ve been slow to act.

The policy assigns the district’s new chief of safety, security and emergency preparedness to identify procedures for identifying the places for hard corners; principals would work with their school resource officers or other safety experts to determine where the corners would be in each classroom. The policy also requires classroom doors to be locked at all times.

The second policy gives anyone at a school the authority — and the responsibility — to call for a Code Red if they sense danger. This procedure signals an immediate danger and requires students to hide behind locked doors

The Stoneman Douglas gunman was halfway through his six-minute rampage before anyone issued a “Code Red.” As a result, some students were caught in hallways and killed.

Although the commission found that no one was specifically told not to issue the alert, there was confusion about whose job that was.

Under the new policy any staff member must call a Code Red “should they see, hear, or smell anything that may immediately impact the safety and security of any staff, students, or visitors on campus.”

They would not be disciplined if the potential threat turns out to be a false alarm., 561-243-6637 or Twitter @smtravis

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