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.