Judge rules school boards must provide security to charter schools

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    A victory for local parents when it comes to keeping their kids safe at school; a judge ruled Tuesday that the Palm Beach County School Board is required to assign safety officers to charter schools.

    Judge John Van Laningham pointed to the 2018 state law passed after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead.

    The law included a requirement for safe-school officers to be assigned to every school within the district.

    The judge’s ruling is part of an ongoing legal battle that also included lawsuits filed by charter schools against the Palm Beach County school district.

    The lawsuits claim that the district was trying to exclude charter schools from sharing in the proceeds of a new countywide property tax approved by voters last November.

    Revenue from that tax would go to teachers’ raises and towards funding the resource officers at schools.

    While the judge’s decision is a small victory for charter schools, the battle isn’t over yet.

    Judge Van Laningham said he was not deciding issues like who is required to pay for the officers.

    In his 43-page order, which he called the first of its kind, he wrote: “While disputes concerning this financial obligation might someday be ripe for adjudication, the narrower question of law is, simply, who must satisfy the duty to ‘establish or assign’ SSOs at charter schools. The plain and obvious answer to this pivotal question is: the district school board and district superintendent.”

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