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Controversial training hire in Palm Beach County could prompt state law change

Posted at 11:22 PM, Sep 16, 2019

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A controversial move in Palm Beach County over school security training may now lead to a change in state law.

The school district hired Invictus, a private Boynton Beach firm, to train armed guards to comply with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Safety Act. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office took over training once they deemed the training inadequate.

On Monday, the Florida Senate education committee met for the first time since then, as they began to lay the groundwork ahead of the 2020 legislative session.

“This is going to continue to evolve, we have to continue stay ahead this,” said State Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., a Republican from Miami.

Boynton Beach Sen. Lori Berman, a Democrat, among the lawmakers discussing closing the loophole that allowed the school district to hire a local company to train school armed guards.

“Because of the problems that we’ve had, I think we’re going to see some movement in that area toward having the sheriff’s office being the requirement,” she said.

The sheriff’s office ultimately decided that the training Invictus was providing didn’t comply with state law and took over training. Invictus defended training and sued the district earlier this month, saying they’re owned nearly $100,000.

The committee also looking at mental health.

They’re considering training teachers to better spot issues that a student might be having.

“So that the teachers can identify it and refer them out appropriately,” Berman said.

“At the end of the day, every parent should be able to kiss their kid goodbye and be confident they’re going to return home,” Diaz said.

The next legislative session starts on Jan. 14, 2020.