Discussions around the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a recent Florida Association for Pupil Transportation directors meeting centered on the mental health of students as members struggled to make sense of the tragedy.
Arby Creach, the association’s president and the director of transportation for Brevard County Schools, told School Transportation News that the FAPT mid-year director’s meeting in Tallahassee opened with a moment of silence on Feb. 15, the day after Nikolas Cruz allegedly open fire at his former high school and killed 17 people while wounding 14 others.
Creach said the directors in attendance had some discussions about the need for more school resource officers on campuses as well as more parent and family involvement in the lives of their students, to make “sure that a troubled youth like Nikolas Cruz could not legally buy a gun.”
“The focus seemed to be more on the root cause of the anger and today’s youth with their general disrespect for human life, not so much the weapon used to carry out the assault,” he added. “Someone even reminded everyone that the most lethal school house killing was in 1927, when a farmer unhappy about his property taxes being used to fund a rural school, blew it up with a bomb. He killed 45 people, including his wife and 38 children at the school.”
Pat Snell, director of transportation for Broward County Schools—the district for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—attended the FAPT meeting. Creach relayed to STN that Snell remained in continuous contact with her staff as they coordinated evacuation efforts and worked with local law enforcement. He added that all students not picked up by their parents following the shooting and law enforcement’s apprehension of the suspect were delivered safely to home via the school bus.