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Senator Powell, District 24 — Press Release


February 6, 2024

CONTACT: Michelle DeMarco, 18504875024

Senator Powell’s Legislation to Reduce Juvenile Violence Unanimously Passes Senate Committee Hearing

Tallahassee —

SB786, legislation sponsored by Senator Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) to reduce juvenile violence by investing in conflict resolution skills and peer mediation, unanimously passed the Senate Education Pre-K – 12 Committee on Tuesday, the measure’s first of three scheduled Senate committee stops. 

“This legislation steps in to fill the skills vacuum children often face in dealing with conflict and arguments,” said Senator Powell. “It is designed to teach them that there are better, non-destructive ways to resolve differences and build better lives for themselves and others.” 

Under SB786, five middle schools experiencing high rates of juvenile violence would be selected by the Commissioner of Education as participants in a unique pilot program for the 2025-2026 school year. The mission includes partnering with a selected nonprofit to administer the Youth Conflict and Peer Medication Pilot Program. 

A Senate analysis noted that according to a review of 2022-2023 data collected by Florida’s School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting (SESIR), there were over 90,000 reported instances of actions by students that impacted school safety for that school year. Just under 65,000 were reported by schools that served middle school and high school students and of those over 35,000 of the incidents were reported by schools that only serve middle school students. These data indicate that incidents involving middle school students make up the majority of school safety related incidents that occur in secondary schools, the analysis stated. 

Identical legislation, HB857, is sponsored in the House by Representative LaVon Bracy Davis.