Let’s take a look at the Florida school safety plan

Let’s take a look at the Florida school safety plan
July 26 16:24 2018 Print This Article

A 2018 Florida school safety law allows for a new category for safety officers – school guardians. The armed guardians may either be volunteers or school district employees.  They must receive at least 140 hours of training from the county sheriff’s office and undergo a psychological exam. In Polk County, Florida, the school board recently decided to pay the guardians $30,000 for 10-month contracts and put them in charge of security for the district’s elementary schools. School Resource Officers employed by local law enforcement agencies will continue to provide security for middle and elementary schools in Polk County, with one SRO assigned for every 1000 students. Polk County School District is recruiting retired military and law enforcement personnel to serve as school guardians.

The Florida law also allows school JROTC personnel and non-instructional staff to be armed after completing a 132-hour training program, but Polk County School District declined those options. The district will be re-imbursed for $3.7 million in additional school safety costs by the newly-created Florida Office of School Safety. A provision in the South Carolina 2018-2019 budget called for a study on school safety but did not commit any funding for safety measures.

The Florida Office of School Safety will also assist school districts in their security training and disseminate best practices. Each school district will be required to establish threat assessment teams in conjunction with local law enforcement personnel and conduct active shooter drills at least once each semester. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is using a computer simulator to train guardians to assess threats.