Florida Phoenix by Diane Rado
January 17, 2020
In what began as criticisms of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission – set up to review school safety following the 2018 Parkland mass shooting– has now led to a lawsuit.
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit this week, on behalf of groups and individuals, including students, claiming that the commission prevented Florida students from speaking — violating Florida’s open meetings laws.
The incident occurred at the commission’s public meeting October 15-16, 2019, at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, described in the lawsuit as a secluded “Four Diamond” resort and golf destination.
“These advocates wanted to provide a voice the Commission has ignored—that of the very students it was created to protect,” states the lawsuit filed this week in Leon County Circuit Court.
“They planned to explain to the Commission how the policies it has recommended make Florida’s students less, not more, safe, to ask the Commission to reconsider its initial recommendations, and to influence 2020 legislative recommendations about which the Commission was meeting.”
In addition, the commission meeting was held at “remote resort from transportation,” with parking rates between $18 and $32 – significant barriers for the public, according to the lawsuit.