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Florida lawmakers examine safety measures at Israeli schools

(WCTV)
Published: May. 28, 2019 at 11:47 AM EDT
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By: Capitol News Service

May 28, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) – A group of Florida lawmakers spent Monday morning touring a 600-student middle school in the heart of Tel Aviv. They found fences, a system of coordinated security and quick response times. Now, they’re hoping to bring some of the procedures home with them.

At Ariel University in the West Bank in Israel, heavily-armed security was beefed up for Governor Ron DeSantis’ visit. But, high security is a reality for every school in the country.

Under Israeli law, every school must have a six-foot high fence with a single point of entry, not including emergency exits.

Rep. Chris Sprowls of Tampa, who is in line to be the next Speaker of the House, wants to take a serious look at a single point of entry for every school in Florida.

“What I saw today was a very controlled environment, where you had one area of ingress and egress from the school. Once a student arrives at school, we visited a middle school here in Tel Aviv, that gate is secured,” said Sprowls.

The threat in Israel is different, as it comes from across the border, and not across town. Still, lawmakers say there is plenty to bring home with them.

Lauren Book, who represents Parkland, asked plenty questions about age-appropriate training.

Book said, “We’re talking about three and four-year-olds knowing how to access a bomb shelter. What does that mean, what does that look like? That is a part of life here.”

Israeli schools have students with mental health issues, but Rep. Randy Fine says they confront students early on and head on.

“Over here, they’re not afraid to call out bad behavior. Part of what we saw with Nikolas Cruz was a culture of trying to look the other way, and that was entirely preventable had government done the right thing in advance. They don’t have those issues over here,” Fine said.

The security lawmakers viewed firsthand has kept the country of 9 million people from having a serious attack on a school since the early 1970s.