Due to the recent news of school shootings across America, the Florida Legislature enacted legislation that will give school systems $500 million over a course of 10 years to improve their security. This bill not only adds metal detectors to schools, but also possibly arm teachers for better safety.
Leon County has begun to take its own steps in ensuring that their children are safe in their classrooms.
The state has mandated that Leon County increase the number of security officers on school campuses with a focus on the K-5 schools.
According to Leon County Schools, about 20 of the district’s 25 elementary schools did not have on-duty officers throughout the past school year.
Local elementary school teacher Derek Lincoln said having officers in classrooms and on campus is vital. “I feel like it is a very good option to have. Officers are definitely needed to help students remain focused. I believe it would be a great idea to have officers within our classrooms.”
The Leon County School District will be implementing a plan to have off-duty deputies employed by the county sheriff and Tallahassee Police Department officers on elementary school campuses that are located within the city. These officers will be in place for at least eight hours throughout the school day. There will be five deputies located within the five elementary schools that are outside of the city.
“We are getting prepared for the start of the school year for August 2018. We will ensure that we have local law enforcement officers in every single classroom in K-12,” said Chris Petley, a spokesman for the district.
Parents, including Teresa Allen, appear to welcome the increased focus on safety in local elementary schools. “I feel like this should be a big concern. I want to drop my child off to school knowing that he will be safe and sound while getting his education,” said Allen. “I am glad to know that many people are working diligently to make some things happen before the new school year starts up.”
TPD is still finding ways to move forward and hopes to bring forward new ideas at an upcoming City Commission workshop. Until that process is completed, off-duty officers will be placed within classrooms to ensure that students are safe while at school.