Florida Statement on School Safety

Author: Vince Roig, Founding Chairman, & Paul J. Luna, President and CEO

March 20, 2018

While the tragedy that unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14 was incomprehensible, it was also a tipping point. 

The tragic loss of 17 lives marked a threshold moment for our society, having already seen too many futures cut inexplicably short and too many students whose safety was compromised yet again. The loss also marked a defining moment for state leaders, who boldly and with bi-partisan support passed significant school safety legislation that positioned Florida as a reform leader. Helios Education Foundation commends Governor Scott and state legislative leaders for listening, debating and leading.  

Enactment of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act means that students’ voices were heard, our State Representatives and State Senators acted commendably to negotiate a set of proposals reflecting the will of the people, and our Governor forged a path toward healing by focusing the state on the steps needed to reduce the likelihood of future tragedies. 

This past week’s bold leadership that prioritized our students, teachers, and the safety of our schools is governance for and by the people, governance that identifies necessary action while balancing personal freedoms, and governance that will lead our state toward reconciliation. While this legislation reflects compromise from all parties, passage reflects a huge step forward for our students, teachers and schools.

As a foundation whose mission it is to enrich the lives of individuals in both Arizona and Florida by creating opportunities for success in postsecondary education, we believe in the transformational power of education, our teachers, and our schools. We believe that an investment in education yields a return that improves livelihoods, influences generations, and impacts communities - that is why we invest all along the education continuum to ensure that all students, but especially first-generation, minority, and underrepresented students, achieve postsecondary success. 

Thank you Governor Scott, Senate President Negron, and Speaker of the House Corcoran for your swift action to ensure more families do not suffer the senseless loss of their loved ones within our schools. 

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