Faulty classroom design and failures in the police radio and 911 systems contributed to the chaos and 17 deaths during the recent Florida high school massacre, a commission investigating the shooting in February was told at its first meeting last week.
Broward Sheriff’s Detective Zachary Scott told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission that teachers trying to lock down their students as the gunman began his attack couldn’t lock classroom doors from the inside, but had to grab a key, open the door, and turn the lock from the outside.
The doors also had small windows that allowed the suspect to fire into classrooms that had been locked, leading to several deaths, Scott said.
The commission also learned that the sheriff’s office and Coral Springs police department had different radio systems that prevented authorities from exchanging information. Meanwhile, the city of Parkland, where the high school is located, has a bifurcated 911 system. Calls from cellphones go to the Coral Springs center, while calls from landlines go to the sheriff’s office. As most calls from the Stoneman Douglas campus were made from cellphones, Broward sheriff’s dispatchers were getting secondhand information from Coral Springs.
A version of this article appeared in the May 02, 2018 edition of Education Week as School Design Contributed to Massacre at Florida School, Investigator Says