Southwest Florida – When families dumped their children to school on Wednesday, they may have seen extra cops there. Several departments have increased patrols after the school massacre in Texas.
School leaders also reviewed security measures to make sure there were no gaps.
Lee and Charlotte County Sheriff’s Offices were among the agencies that had more officers in local schools.
Additional Charlotte County deputies will work in schools until the end of the school year, the sheriff said.
Collier County did not say whether it would provide additional patrols, and said “information concerning school security is tactical in nature and as such should not be disseminated.” However, lawmakers are reviewing policies and procedures after each major incident across the country.
When Fox 4 asked Hendry Public Schools if it enhances security, a spokesman said:
… we don’t do anything special. Our administrators, teachers, staff, HCSO and the Beak Police Department maintain the vigilance they have on a daily basis. Our district practice along with the Office of Safe Schools is prevention, not response. Unfortunately, the lack of mental services in our area makes this a problem. The one we face in the forehead for the safety of our students.
Fox 4 reviewed what security measures are required in Florida schools other than additional patrols.
In 2018, Florida lawmakers passed the Margery Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. One of the biggest laws: every school must have at least one school employee.
We have registered in Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties.
Each public school in these areas has at least one school resource officer designated for its school. In some schools, as in secondary schools, two.
FGCU criminology professor David Thomas, who is also a former law enforcement officer, says they are there to stop any threat.
“The other thing they’re hoping for is deterrence, which means that if we have an armed man on campus, it’s deterring us from shooting,” Thomas said.
Thomas says there are other measures that help, such as video calls to doors and closed gates.
Although it is unknown whether Collier County provided additional patrols, a spokesman said the county took other measures on Wednesday.
Today, the leaders of our district met with all school principals and assistant principals to discuss many topics in this final part of the school year. During this conversation, we reviewed the level of security in Collier County public schools.
Some of these security levels listed by the spokesperson include locking doors and closing windows while locking, working at individual entry points, and having a threat assessment team.
“It’s about science. In a minute or two, everything stops,” Thomas said.
But is all this enough? Thomas says the answer ultimately lies in the home of every child and adult in their lives.
“We can only have so many armed guards, we can only have so many people’s guns,” he said. “We can only do so much, and the rest, I guess, we just have to pray and practice to answer.”