June 14, 2018
At the June 20, 2018 School Board Meeting, Dr. Steve Gallon III, District 1 School Board Member will propose Agenda Item H-10, Partnerships with Municipalities to Explore the Deployment of Police Officers to Support Student Safety and Compliance with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, SB 7026 which was co-sponsored by Board members Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Ms. Marie Teresa Rojas, and School Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is committed to ensuring the safety and security of its schools, employees, community members, and most important, its students. This has been and must always remain a priority of the School Board, Superintendent, and school and district staff. This commitment has been shared by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and its members employed through the Miami-Dade County Public School Police Department and municipalities throughout the county.
The issue of school safety and security has been elevated because of the tragedy that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School on February 14, 2018. Consequently, the district, state, and nation have increased proactivity in the provision of attention, resource, and strategy to improve school security and student safety.
On March 9, 2018, Governor Rick Scott signed into law the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (MSDHSPSA), SB 7026. This law, among other initiatives, requirements, and strategies, provides a $400 million investment to keep students safe in school and enhance the provision of supports to address mental health. One critical component is the provision of $162 million for safe-school officers and the requirement that a safe-school officer is present at each school in the state. All safe-school officers must be sworn law enforcement officers.
The provision of these additional resources represents a tremendous enhancement to improving school safety and security at schools in Miami-Dade County and around the state. However, the School Board and Superintendent have recognized that meeting the requirement that a safe-school officer is present at each school will pose a significant human resource challenge. Presently, there is a dearth of sworn law enforcement officers available to fill these positions throughout Florida and from a limited pool being competitively drawn from 67 school districts. Even Miami-Dade County Public Schools, with its own established school police force of dedicated and committed sworn law enforcement officers, will face the daunting task of providing safe-school officers from this limited pool. Exploring partnerships with municipalities as a means to provide for safe schools officers, in consultation with FOP, and as allowable through the “contracting” provision of SB 7026 for resource officers would serve as a prudent, pragmatic approach to addressing this issue.
Additionally, at the School Board Meeting of March 21, 2018, School Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman proffered Board Agenda Item H-1, which addressed partnerships with municipalities to support school safety. The item which passed unanimously, was co-sponsored by Vice-Chair, Dr. Martin Karp, and School Board members Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Dr. Lawrence Feldman, Dr. Steve Gallon III, Dr. Marta Perez, and Ms. Mari Tere Rojas.
This item directs the Superintendent to meet with the FOP and local municipalities to review and discuss the requirements of MSDHSPSA/SB 7026 and receive feedback and recommendations regarding compliance. It also provides for an update of the plan to establish partnerships with Miami-Dade County and local municipalities to ensure that each school has a safe-school officer, pursuant to both the State funding allocation and requirements of MSDHS/SB 7026 at the School Board meeting of August 15, 2018.
The next School Board Meeting is Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 11:00 a.m., in the School Board Administration Building Auditorium at 1450 Northeast Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132.