Parents Need to Know
February 12, 2021
Today Florida Congressmen Dan Daley and Shevrin Jones introduced one of the most important new pieces of school safety legislation in 2021, the Parents Need to Know Act. Congressmen Daley and Jones collaborated closely with Stand with Parkland to draft this legislation and introduce the bill. This critical piece of legislation ensures parents (and educators) know about critical security incidents and threats effecting their children at school and the actions the school is taking to address them.
Following the publication of this legislation, Phil and April made the following statements supporting the Parents Need to Know Act.
On Feb. 14, 2018, my daughter Carmen lay dead on the floor of MSD, her cell phone ringing endlessly as her mother and I frantically called, longing desperately to hear her voice. Tragically, I found out too late MSD was a school with serious security issues. Shockingly, the issues with security at MSD only came to light because the governor appointed a commission to investigate the circumstances of Carmen's murder and the murder of 16 others. Equally sickening, the School Board of Broward County recently argued in court that schools have no obligation to warn students, teachers, and parents of known threats or security lapses at school. The Parents Need to Know Act is a powerful yet simple remedy to these egregious problems. It ensures schools have a legal duty to inform parents about serious threats and security lapses at school by providing them with timely and accurate information about each incident. Just as importantly, schools are also required to inform parents and teachers about the actions the school is taking to address each security issue. If Parents Need to Know legislation had been law in 2018, Carmen's school would have been required to inform parents and staff that multiple students had warned an administrator a former student with a troubled past said he was going to "shoot up" the school. I believe with this law in place, Carmen and 16 other amazing people would be alive today and every school across the state would be a safer place. Every parent needs to know they are sending their children to a safe school. Every parent needs to know schools are doing everything possible to protect their children. We deserve better than "Enter at your own risk".
Up until my children's school became the crime scene for the worst mass shooting at a US high school, I was told that their school was safe. It was only after the massacre, that I learned that the school had major safety and security concerns. Students were making threats, bringing weapons and drugs, and committing sexual offenses. It also had a major problem with keeping trespassers off campus. Serious safety concerns like this should be reported to all parents, students, and school staff when they occur. Passing the Parents Need to Know Act may be too late for my daughter, Carmen, and the 16 other victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but it is not too late to keep other staff and students safe in Florida's schools.
Parents and the school community should KNOW if their schools are safe, not hope and pray that they are.
Please contact Florida legislators to urge them to pass the Parents Need to Know Act this legislative session. It is too late to help Carmen, but it is not too late to ensure your children are safe at school.