Parkland: A Look Back at the Year That Changed School Safety

Last year's tragedy has led to significant legislative changes surrounding school safety and survivors have ensured the victims' names will live on.
Published: February 14, 2019

Moments of silence. Random acts of kindness. Community service projects. A 5k race. These are just some of the ways friends and families of those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting say they will be honoring their lost loved ones today on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy that claimed 17 innocent lives.

As we remember those who were killed and those who sacrificed their own lives to save others, we also mustn’t forget the hundreds of students and staff who were there that day but made it back to their loved ones. So many of them are the ones that are pioneering for a safer future for all students and are the voices of those no longer with us. Their bravery and commitment to ensuring no more families have to endure what they did will forever change the discussion on school safety.

As we reflect on the past year and all of the developments that have emerged following this tragedy, we can only hope to learn from past mistakes and strive towards making each and every school day safe for all students across the country.

Here’s a look back at the year following the shooting and developments that have spurred significant changes in legislation and also sparked many heated debates surrounding school safety best practices.

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February 2018

  • 2/14: 17 people killed in shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., making it the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook – View article here
  • 2/16: The FBI admits to failing to follow up on a credible tip about the gunman’s concerning behavior – View article here
  • 2/21: All of the victims, many of whom died saving others, are identified – View article here
  • 2/22: School resource officer Scot Peterson suspended without pay, later resigns, after surveillance video shows him waiting outside the school while the gunman opened fire – View article here
  • 2/26: Surveillance footage was on 26-minute delay, leading police to believe the gunman was still in the building after he had already fled on foot – View article here
  • 2/26: Coral Springs Police claim three Broward deputies hid behind their vehicles with weapons drawn while the gunman opened fire inside the school – View article here
  • 2/27: Florida Governor Rick Scott announces $500 million Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act – View articles here and here

March 2018

  • 3/2: Experts say hurricane-proof glass helped save lives during shooting – View article here
  • 3/6: Broward Sheriff’s Office Parkland District Commander Captain Jan Jordan ordered deputies to set up a perimeter around the school when they believed the shooter was inside – View article here
  • 3/11: Dozens of schools and colleges begin announcing school security upgrades following shooting – View articles here, here and here 
  • 3/12: BSO releases additional records from shooting, including 911 calls, radio traffic communication failures and security footage – View article here
  • 3/14: National Walkout Day organized by students across the country to protest gun violence in schools – View articles here and here
  • 3/20: Additional mental health records for Parkland gunman dating back to 2013 released – View article here
  • 3/22: Insurance companies that offer active shooter insurance see significant spike following the shooting, including $3 million worth purchased by Florida school districts – View article here
  • 3/23: STOP School Violence Act signed into law; will provide $75 million in 2018 and $100 million every year from 2019-2028 for additional school security measures – View article here

April 2018

  • 4/9: Stoneman Douglas students returning from spring break must use clear backpacks, wear student ID badges at all times – View article here
  • 4/10: Broward County School Board says it will invest in hiring school resource officers instead of participating in a new state program that allows certain staff to carry a weapon – View article here
  • 4/24: Coral Springs Police release reports confirming earlier allegations that BSO deputies hid behind their vehicles during the shooting – View article here
  • 4/27: 85 percent of BSO deputies say they have no confidence in Sheriff Scott Israel’s ability to lead the department – View article here

May 2018

  • 5/7: Broward school district officials say the gunman was referred to its PROMISE program, which allows students who commit misdemeanors to attend an alternative school where they receive counseling rather than be processed through the criminal justice system, after he vandalized a middle school bathroom in 2013 – View article here
  • 5/10: Many Florida schools say they are scrambling to fill armed school resource officer positions, which is required under new state law, in time for next school year – View articles here and here
  • 5/17: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos meets with survivors and family members impacted by mass school shootings to discuss lessons learned and hear from those directly impacted – View article here

June 2018

  • 6/6: Two Stoneman Douglas security monitors are reassigned and later fired for their responses to the shooting – View articles here and here
  • 6/8: BSO and Parkland School District meet with the Department of Education but disagree on who should provide school security for the district – View article here
  • 6/11: A retired Secret Service agent says he warned Stoneman Douglas administrators of the school’s security vulnerabilities two months before the shooting – View article here

July 2018

  • 7/11: 15 Marjory Stoneman Douglas students file a civil rights lawsuit against school officials and law enforcement, claiming they failed to protect students leading up to and during the shooting – View article here
  • 7/26: Broward County Schools superintendent announces security upgrades implemented during summer break, including new fences, double-doors, cameras and security staff – View article here
  • 7/27: State appeals court agrees to delay the release of hours of security footage from the shooting after Broward School Board says it could expose weak spots in the district’s surveillance systems – View article here

August 2018

  • 8/3: An independent review finds Broward County schools mishandled the gunman’s access to special needs services during his last two years of school – View article here

September 2018

  • 9/22: Parkland shooting survivor Aidan Spitzer raises over $23,000 for medical kits and other emergency medical supplies – View article here 

November 2018

  • 11/26: Three assistant principals and a security specialist are reassigned for their responses to both the shooting and preceding events, including a lack of active shooter drills – View article here

December 2018

  • 12/12: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission releases 407-page initial draft of school safety recommendations; they would later release their final draft on Jan. 1, 2019 – View article here
  • 12/14: Regarding the lawsuit filed by 15 Stoneman Douglas students on July 11, a federal judge rules Broward schools and the Sheriff’s office were not responsible for protecting students during the shooting – View article here

January 2019

  • 1/9: Broward County Schools approves the installation of a new surveillance system that includes 116 high-def smart cameras to recognize visitors – View article here
  • 1/11: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announces the suspension of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel – View article here

February 2019

  • 2/6: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signs “Alyssa’s Law,” created in the memory of student victim Alyssa Alhadeff, which requires all public schools to install silent panic alarms – View article here

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