St Johns County joins state Guardian Program to protect students

Today, Historic City News was informed that Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran lauded St Johns County for joining the Guardian Program to protect our students. There are now 33 counties participating in the Guardian Program and another 15 who have expressed interest.

The Office of Safe Schools administers the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program and serves as a central repository for best practices, training standards and compliance oversight in all matters regarding school safety and security.  Their mission is to support school districts who want to provide a safe learning environment for students and educators.  The primary goals are prevention, intervention, and emergency preparedness planning.

“Florida’s students and parents have rightfully demanded increased security measures, and this is another example of educational leaders responding to the call,” Commissioner Corcoran said. “There are cowards who prey on our schools, and with each new district who takes advantage of this opportunity to safeguard their students, the State of Florida is sending a message that we are united in protecting our state’s future generations.”

In the wake of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that took the lives of 17 Florida students and educators, the Florida Legislature passed and Governor Rick Scott signed SB 7026, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. This legislation outlines significant reforms to make Florida schools safer, while keeping firearms out of the hands of mentally ill and dangerous individuals.

Provisions of the law include:

  • Creation of the Office of Safe Schools and a description of the office’s responsibilities
  • Allowing sheriffs to establish a Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program
  • The FortifyFL mobile suspicious activity reporting tool
  • Establishment of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission
  • New requirements for mental health services and training
  • Requirements for a safe-school officer at each public school
  • School safety assessments for each public school
  • Appropriations of funding to address identified school safety needs

The 33 participating counties are as follows: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Clay, Citrus, Duval, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Hendry, Hillsborough, Holmes, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Okeechobee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, St. Johns, Suwanee, Taylor and Volusia.