Tallahassee, Florida - The Newtown tragedy is prompting Florida to take a closer look at ways to improve school safety. The latest proposal comes from Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg.
The Republican lawmaker has filed a bill that would require schools to conduct lockdown drills to help prepare students and teachers for dangerous situations. Schools would then write up reports on how each drill went.
Sen. Brandes says his military experience taught him the value of creating an "after-action" report. He says that information can show strengths, as well as problems, and help improve responses.
Brandes says documenting the lockdown drills would be especially helpful because principals often leave schools and take away valuable knowledge.
"There's a lot of variety in different districts, as there should be, districts have different issues. But there should be some mechanism for reporting, at least reporting back up to the school district and to retain some institutional knowledge at the school."
Sen. Brandes also wants police or firefighters to participate in lockdown drills.
"If we could have them observing the drills and walking the principals through likely scenarios, I think that would be very helpful. Our bill says at least one drill a year per school that you would have a police officer involved or a firefighter involved in the drill itself."
The bill will face debate in the upcoming legislative session starting March 5.