Turning Pain Into Purpose – A Father’s Journey to Make Schools Safer After the Parkland School Shooting

According to Education Week‘s school shooting tracker, there have been 18 school shootings this year alone. With the increasing number of these violent incidents, what’s being done to make schools safer?

School Safety Today’s host, Michelle Dawn Mooney, is joined by Max Schachter, the Founder of Safe Schools for Alex, to discuss his advocation for policy change to better safeguard students. Schachter’s youngest son Alex was one of the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland school shooting. Since then, Schachter channeled his pain to be a national school safety advocate. He discusses what his organization does to ensure school safety and what their goals are now and for the future.

Listen to today’s podcast to learn:

  • New policies at the state and federal levels focused on safer educational settings
  • How to use data to reduce violence in school communities
  • Recommendations for how district leaders and law enforcement officials can work best together

Schachter was appointed to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission where they were tasked with investigating and analyzing information from the Parkland school shooting to develop recommendations to prioritize safety and security in schools. He highlights the successes in working with the Florida Department of Education to create data points that school districts and parents can use to make informed decisions and policies about school safety. The collaboration was the impetus for the School Safety Dashboard where districts, parents and all stakeholders can access this data on a user-friendly platform to help create a safer environment for all.

Some other developments that have come from the commission include the creation of an Office of School Safety, a school safety specialist in every Florida district, an anonymous threat reporting system statewide, a panic app for teachers, a threat assessment team, and a mental health coordinator in all Florida school districts.

Additionally, Schachter pushes for law enforcement to prioritize preparedness and training. “You can’t start the process in the middle of a tragedy or after a tragedy. Now, law enforcement has access to cameras in an emergency. There are reunification plans in place and we now have mandatory active shooter drills on all campuses…and a minimum of at least one, armed officer on every campus throughout the entire state.”

Max Scratcher is the Founder and Executive Director of Safe Schools for Alex. He’s one of the nation’s leading school safety advocates, serving as a corporate and governmental advisor on matters related to school shootings and security. Schachter works alongside members of Congress, leaders of federal agencies, and Presidents of the United States which has led to the creation of the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse at SchoolSafety.gov. He’s interviewed with many media outlets including CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and ABC.

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