NEWS, POLITICS & ACTIVISM — April 24, 2018 at 3:01 am

BCPS holds school safety forum

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Leaders answer questions and discuss school safety. Photo by Dara Rosen

Broward County Public Schools announced on Tuesday, April 10 that they would hold a public forum to discuss safety issue in schools on Wednesday, April 18. The forum was held at Plantation High School and the Superintendent of BCPS, Robert Runcie, along with other Broward County leadership and BCPS school board members spoke.

The forum was scheduled to start at 6:30 and end at 8:30, but due to the amount of people who wanted to give their thoughts and concerns it lasted an hour longer than planned.

“In response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is holding a Forum on School Safety.” BCPS said in a news release.

The news release also addressed what was planned for the discussion at the forum.

“Broward County School Board members, BCPS Superintendent Robert W. Runcie and District leadership will provide information and updates regarding school safety measures, state funding, mental health services and programs, counseling and support services for students and employees, and the SMART initiative as it pertains to school safety,” the statement said.

The forum was open to the public and live streamed on the district’s website for people who could not attend.

During the first half of the forum, Runcie and the other BCPS officials gave a presentation on the safety procedures at all Broward County schools. This presentation included policies on in school and out of school suspensions, expulsions, funding for security and a timeline of new safety measure implementations.  

During the presentation, they also announced another forum to be held on May 7 at Piper High School from 5:30 to 7:30.

“We will have more forums and more community conversations as we go forward on important topics,” Runcie said.

Throughout the rest of the forum students, parents, teachers and members of the community voiced their opinions on policy and possible improvements in schools.

Students from MSD expressed their feelings on the clear backpacks, IDs and the extensive amount of police on campus.

“Why do we have clear backpacks if they aren’t being enforced?” senior Angelina Lazo said. “Why do we have BSO everywhere if they aren’t doing their job and just seem to be hanging around our campus?”

Others called out Runcie and board members for not doing enough regarding safety in schools.

“I wanted to let you know something that I don’t think you’re aware of, you have let all of us down in this community in so many ways…” a mom of a student from J.P Taravella said.

Many people came away from this forum angry because they didn’t get all of the answers they were looking for. Unclear and insufficient answers were given by Runcie and the other members of the panel. Others, however, saw how this forum could shed a light for the future.

“I don’t think [the forum] was successful for what [the county] wanted but I think it was very successful for the people because we were able to see who is really on our side,” junior Alex Wind said.

Future forums will continue in the county and members of the community hope to bring about positive change by speaking out.

Dara Rosen

Dara Rosen is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. She is an editor for the Eagle Eye newspaper and she hopes to pursue journalism as a full-time career.

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2 Comments

  1. Here is the 1,2,3 version that will provide safe schools. All this can be in place right away.

    1) Legislation: COLORADO
    Remove liability caps for tort claims when schools don’t provide the standard of care below:
    When a school knows, or should have known, that a violent incident is likely to take place, and didn’t act, the liability caps are removed and now they can be sued without protection.

    2) BYSTANDER REPORTING BEST PRACTICES FROM COLORADO, UTAH, WYOMING, NEVADA, AND OTHER STATES
    Establish the SAFE2TELL Program.
    I have authorized & direct access to the program. Also, training required. Information needs to be funneled through a fusion center and the school principals each and every time. There are 2 costs, one is the software, the other the administration of the program. Funding is now available, use it.

    3) USE OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE
    Like it or not, Lae Enforcement uses it every day. The fusion centers communicate issues harvested with this technology.
    When a situation arises that require intervention (a safety plan) the school staff play the most significant action for success. Each tip will be shared with the schools, and with or without direction from the fusion center, may initiate a crisis intervention with the student and family.

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