Safety – Students, Schools, and Senate Bill 7026

Dr. Kathy K. Burns

Submitted by Dr. Kathy K. Burns, Superintendent
Nassau County School District
March 29, 2018 3:49 p.m.


The recent events in Broward County created concern, chaos, and calls for change throughout our country. School is the one place students should feel safe. The priority of legislators, local leaders, and law enforcement quickly became “students and their safety!” Safe schools has been a priority for the Nassau County School District since the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. The district has made plans to upgrade locks, add fencing, secure/streamline entrances, add cameras, and much more. In the past 2 weeks, we have met with Chief Hurley and Sheriff Leeper to review current safety procedures and opportunities for improvements.

The passage of Senate Bill 7026 includes a list of requirements for local school districts. These include:

  • District School Safety Specialist
  • Active shooter training
  • By August 1, 2018, each school district must complete a security risk assessment for each public school campus
  • By September 1, 2018, each school should establish a threat assessment team with expertise in mental health counseling, academic instruction, law enforcement and school administration that will coordinate resources, assessments, and interventions
  • One school safety officer at each school at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year

While we are grateful that our legislators provided additional funding in the areas of mental health and safe schools, these funds will not be sufficient. The cost of resource officers alone is estimated at over $1M. However, we will review our budget and make the necessary changes for prioritizing safety.

Fortifying our schools is important; however, the most important key to safer schools that we cannot ignore is – Relationships/Mental Health. Every student must have a meaningful relationship with a caring adult. In Nassau County we’re blessed to live in communities that care. We have teachers, staff members, and volunteers who invest their time and resources to make our students and learning communities better.  As educators, we spend much of our time reviewing data and making plans for improving instruction for every student. Just as we target instruction, we must ALL be deliberate and targeted in our approach to meeting the mental health needs of students.

The Nassau County School District has made SAFETY A PRIORITY. The district has already begun the work to make our schools safer, comply with the requirements of Senate Bill 7026, and address the mental health needs of students.

Our priority – SAFE SCHOOLS


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Richard Lamken
Richard Lamken(@ralamken)
6 years ago

As a retired Assistant Superintendent, I offer the following. Three credible individuals, an SRO and two counselors, recommended that Mr. Cruz undergo a psychiatric evaluation two years before he killed 17 individuals. Administration did nothing and I can understand their reluctance. The rights of an individual in a “protected class” often trump the rights and safety of the many. We need to secure campuses and we need to act when aberrant behavior is perceived and reported.

Steven Crounse
Steven Crounse (@guest_50723)
6 years ago

Seems to me, every elected official has a difficult time saying AR-15 (assault rifle) or weapon of mass murder.! and equating that to the slaughter of our children and young adults in our Country. They would much rather, talk about mental health, and building Bigger Walls around our Institutions of learning, arming our teachers and administration folks in schools.! News Flash.! the last 6 mass killings where accomplished by using an Assault Weapon. The Whole World is filled with “Crazy People” Other first world countries don’t have this problem, Just America, Why.? No Rocket Science Here. They all have stringent gun laws. So lets all do our children a favor, and push for banning all civilian assault weapons, background checks, waiting periods, and minimize magazine size. Make these politicians, and elected officials talk about guns in our society, and remember to Vote this Nov. You have the Power to stop this Madness with your Vote.

Barnes Moore
Barnes Moore(@barnes-moore)
6 years ago
Reply to  Steven Crounse

Sorry Steven – I disagree with much of what you say. And, your facts are wrong. From

A study of global mass-shooting incidents from 2009 to 2015 by the Crime Prevention Research Center, headed by economist John Lott, shows the U.S. doesn’t lead the world in mass shootings. In fact, it doesn’t even make the top 10, when measured by death rate per million population from mass public shootings.

Norway is #1 with an outlier mass shooting death rate of 1.888 per million (high no doubt because of the rifle assault by political extremist Anders Brevik that claimed 77 lives in 2011). No. 2 is Serbia, at just 0.381, followed by France at 0.347, Macedonia at 0.337, and Albania at 0.206. Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, and Czech Republic all follow. Then comes the U.S., at No. 11, with a death rate of 0.089.

That’s not all. There were also 27% more casualties from 2009 to 2015 per mass shooting incident in the European Union than in the U.S.

“There were 16 cases where at least 15 people were killed,” the study said. “Out of those cases, four were in the United States, two in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.”

“But the U.S. has a population four times greater than Germany’s and five times the U.K.’s, so on a per-capita basis the U.S. ranks low in comparison — actually, those two countries would have had a frequency of attacks 1.96 (Germany) and 2.46 (UK) times higher.”

Yes, the U.S. rate is still high, and nothing to be proud of. But it’s not the highest in the developed world. Not by a long shot.

Yet, some today propose banning rifles, in particular AR-15s, because they’ve been used in a number of mass killings. It’s important to note however that, according to FBI crime data cited this week by the Daily Caller, deaths by knives in the U.S. outnumber deaths by rifles by five to 1: In 2016, 1,604 people were killed by knives and other cutting instruments, while 374 were killed by rifles.

So is it not fair to ask: If we’re banning rifles, why not knives, too?

The point is, guns aren’t the problem; deranged killers that grow up in broken families often without positive male role models in their lives are the problem. So are political and religious extremists, in particular Islamists. If these people didn’t have guns, they would find some other means to do the job.

Bombs are illegal in both the U.S. and Europe. Yet Europe loses far more people to bombings than the U.S. Doesn’t that make them more violent?

In the most recent mass killing here in the U.S., what’s upsetting is that Nikolas Cruz, as is usually the case, showed all the signs of a potential killer. He had been expelled from school. He made repeated violent threats. Deputies had made no fewer than 39 visits to his home. He left comments on a web video saying “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” After being notified about the disturbing message, the FBI looked into it, but did nothing.

In this, Cruz is typical. As columnist SE Cupp notes, “the stunning commonality in all these mass shootings … is that the men who perpetrate them are sick — Las Vegas, Pulse nightclub, Newtown, Columbine, Charleston, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora — on and on, these killers were mentally ill and in almost every case, someone knew it.”

Sweeping gun control laws may sound good, but they won’t keep handguns and rifles out of the hands of criminals. They will make it even harder for honest Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights, however.

Rather than politicizing the deaths of 17 people, Democrats and others should instead be pushing for better school security, and for our law enforcement agencies to respond more aggressively to clear threats. Those who are severely mentally ill or psychotic or potentially violent need help. And those that kill for political or religious reasons often show clear signs of being violent. No amount of gun control can stop that.
______________ End Quote____________

What Dr. Burns outlined, and what Mr. Lamken mentioned, is a much needed common sense approach to this problem, not the typical knee-jerk reaction of a progressive who wants to limit the rights of law abiding citizens. If someone is intent on doing harm, they will find a way whether using guns, bombs, vehicles, or some other device.

Douglas Adkins
Douglas Adkins (@guest_50728)
6 years ago

So how about the following;

1. Safe rooms

2. Panic alarms

3. Lazer fencing with alarms

4. Armed on site personnel who can stop an active shooter?

5. In class radios so they can communicate

tony crawford
tony crawford (@guest_50729)
6 years ago

Barnes, it is not the death of 17 people. The day we allowed someone to walk into a school in Sandy Hook and slaughter innocent children and we did nothing about it was one of the saddest days in American history. You can quote all the statistics you want to justify your point, but you are leaving out one very important fact. Our children are being killed. They aren’t being killed in mass by someone with a knife. They are being killed by someone with what most consider a military style weapon. I would ask you to explain why, why these types of weapons are needed? I would ask you why an 18 year old can walk into a store a buy these types of weapons? It has nothing to do what is any infringement on their rights under the 2nd amendment. No one is taking anyone’s guns away. Remember when Obama took office and everyone ran and bought guns because the NRA said he was going to take the guns. That was nothing more than a Hugh money maker for gun manufactures and the kick back they gave to the NRA. Ever ask yourself why the lawmakers won’t change any gun laws? The answer is simple, the lawmakers work not for the people who elected them. They work for the NRA who greatly funds their campaigns. Will these laws stop all killings no. Did the seat belt law prevent all car deaths, no. Did baby seat laws prevent all child deaths, no and did drunk driving laws prevent all drunk driving deaths, no. The one thing they did do was cut down the number of those killed after the laws were put on the books. My point is simple. Don’t mess with the 2nd amendment. Take military style ( or what ever anyone wants to call them ) off the shelves. Raise the age ( same as handguns ) to 21. limit clip ( or whatever you want to call them ) size. Put in tighter background checks. Why should a person on the terror watch list be able to go and buy a gun ? Improve mental health care and hold those accountable for letting the likes of Cruz slip through the cracks. What would any of that hurt? It would only hurt the NRA. Some would ague that if a kid at 18 can go and fight for our country that any 18 year old should be able to buy a gun. That is just not true. An 18 year old in the Military is trained in the use of these guns, they are locked up and used only when needed and those in the Military have some form of supervisor watching them to help determine their fitness. That is a lot different than an 18 year old who feels he has been bullied and waking into a gun shop and 20 minutes later walking out with one of these weapons. The fact is simple. Not a thing will be changed till more kids and more adults are able to vote out those who kneel before the NRA and vote in those who think that better laws are needed and who aren’t afraid of a bad report cart ” rating” from the NRA. Until these types of lawmakers are voted into the House and the Senate and ignore the threats from the NRA absolutely nothing will change. I give these kids, and all who are Marching for change, all the credit in the world. The lawmakers shouldn’t underestimate the power these kids are having . Remember Mr Moore and Mr Trump underestimated the power of the black vote in Alabama and Mr Moore joined the ranks of the unemployed. 2018 will be a very pivotal year.

Barnes Moore
Barnes Moore(@barnes-moore)
6 years ago
Reply to  tony crawford

I don’t entirely disagree with much of what you say. However, the NRA is not the villain, Nicolas Cruz was. Banning any single type of firearm will do little to reduce the threats posed by individuals like Nicholas Cruz, or Adam Lanza for that matter. Both were mentally ill and both expressed openly that they intended to do harm. As the article I referenced noted, Cruz had been expelled from school. He made repeated violent threats. Deputies had made no fewer than 39 visits to his home. He left comments on a web video saying “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” After being notified about the disturbing message, the FBI looked into it, but did nothing. Likewise, Lanza had warned and the FBI was notified that he intended to kill children at Sandy Hook, yet nothing was done. Saying that banning the AR-15, or any firearm for that matter is like forcing the use of seatbelts since it will reduce the number of injuries or deaths is like saying well, if Cruz or Lanza only had a shotgun, they would have killed fewer students. As the article also notes, we “should be pushing for better school security, and for our law enforcement agencies to respond more aggressively to clear threats. Those who are severely mentally ill or psychotic or potentially violent need help. And those that kill for political or religious reasons often show clear signs of being violent. No amount of gun control can stop that”. The point is that we need to take appropriate action when people make the kinds of threats made by Lanza and Cruz, while at the same time doing more to improve the security at our schools. No gun control law would have stopped either of these individuals from gaining access to some type of firearem or other weapon and using it to do harm.

Patty Mooney
Patty Mooney (@guest_50740)
6 years ago

Tony Crawford – excellent comment! Your words speak for many!