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Lockdown at Broward County public schools spotlights dangers for South Florida educators, students and staff

More than 300 Broward County public schools faced an afternoon-long lockdown on Wednesday after the wife of a disgruntled resident called a local radio station and said her husband planned to shoot randomly at students and teachers, the Miami Herald reports.

Broward County Public Schools is the sixth largest school system in the country and services more than 257,000 students. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers understand that for parents and families few things are more frightening than learning their child may be at risk – not of academic failure – but of exposure to an act of random violence simply by being at school.

The lockdown began shortly after 10:30 a.m., quickly spread countywide, and ran through the end of the school day. Adult education and after-school programs were also canceled for the day. Schools in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties were closed Thursday in observance of Veterans Day, but classes resumed on Friday as normal.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 55.5 million students attend K-12 programs and another 15 million students are enrolled at college-level institutions across the U.S. While our nation’s schools are considered safe, almost 40 percent of public schools reported at least one act of violence on campus to police in 2006 and nearly a quarter of students say gangs are active on campus.

One in 10 teachers in urban districts admit to having been threatened by a student, while more than 12 percent of students have engaged in a physical fight on campus. Between 6 and 8 percent of students have either brought a weapon to school or been threatened with a weapon on school property. On average in 2006, there were 29 acts of violent crime – rape, robbery and sexual or aggravated assault – per 1,000 students.

While the homicide and suicide rate for school-age children represent less than one percent of all violent deaths faced by this age group, 116 students were killed in 109 incidents during the last seven years. In fact, since 1996, U.S. school districts have reported 44 separate incidents of school shootings. During the same time frame, 14 school-shooting incidents were reported internationally, the Family Education Network reports.

With all that said, school officials and administrators have an obligation to their employees and students to provide a safe learning environment. Aside from teaching, campus staff should be focuses on ensuring protection of students and staff from potential acts of violence. When a student is injured at school, whether on a school bus, in a sporting accident or through assault or other acts of violence or accident, a family can and should seek legal representation and compensation for injuries and loss.

The South Florida premises liability attorneys at Freeman & Mallard have been successfully and aggressively representing accident victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Ft. Pierce /Port St. Lucie for years. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation appointment to discuss your case at 1-800-529-2368.

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