When students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School return from spring break next week, they'll notice stiffer security measures around campus. And they'll all be sporting clear backpacks.
Robert W. Runcie, the superintendent of Florida's Broward County Public Schools, penned a letter to the Parkland students and families on Wednesday, announcing the new measures.
Students at the high school—where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly killed 17 people last month—will now be required to wear clear backpacks, a step administrators hope will ward off the threat of firearms and illegal weapons on campus.
Identification cards will also be issued to students and staff members to wear at all times. In addition, the district is mulling the possibility of using metal-detecting wands and later installing permanent metal detectors, The New York Times reported.
Runcie, who advocated last month for a metal-detector-free district is now considering installing them, according to the Times. In an interview last month, he said that metal detectors create an unwelcoming learning environment and pose organizational challenges in a school with nearly 3,200 students.
He also questioned their efficacy.
“Someone is not going to go through a metal detector with an AR-15,” Runcie told the newspaper.
He's said that mental health resources are more appropriate to tackle the issue.
“We’ve got to be able to recognize individuals that are in distress, that have challenges,” he told the Miami Herald. “And be able to find ways to support them.”
In the letter sent Wednesday, Runcie said the school is pairing with law enforcement to administer "code red" training for active-shooting drills and upgrade surveillance camera systems. The district also plans to require visitors at the school to enter through a single point of entry.
This comes days after the Broward County Sheriff's Office arrested Zachary Cruz, the shooting suspect's brother, for trespassing on campus grounds. He was riding his skateboard near the school, officials said.
A day later, two Parkland students were arrested on charges of carrying knives on campus. A student also alerted authorities that Deputy Moises Carotti was sleeping on the job. He has since been suspended, officials say.
In a statement on Twitter, Parkland shooting survivor Kyra Parrow said the new backpack rules will make school more like "jail."
"s/o to America for making my school seem like jail now because legislators don’t have common sense gun reform on their agendas," Parrow wrote via Twitter.
"Since douglas is making all 3,300 students bring clear backpacks against our will, I am officially the founder of March For Our Bookbags. see y’all boys in DC," she added.
Starting next fall, new legislation implemented by Florida Gov. Rick Scott will provide the district with about $8.5 million to hire at least one school resource officer per school. The state will also provide $6 million to expand mental health resources for students.
"While we cannot change the heartbreaking and senseless act of violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, by working together, we can change the future," he added.