Security heavy as Marion County students go back to school

Officers stationed at every elementary, middle, high school

Published On: Jan 30 2013 01:55:53 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 04 2013 07:43:15 AM EST
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MARION COUNTY, Fla. -

As surviving students from the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. go back for their first day of classes to a new school, heavier security measures were taken as students returned from Winter Break in Marion County.

Police officers are stationed at every Marion County elementary school, as they are at middle and high schools. Because of the expense officers won't be stationed at elementary schools full-time after next week, but will make frequent patrols of the schools.

Newly elected school superintendent George Tomyn says he has been meeting with local law enforcement and working with school safety experts to improve the district's confidential security procedures.

"I do feel personally responsible for the safety of our children, and I believe our children and employees are safe in Marion County schools," Tomyn told Local 6. "We also sent out a very detailed instruction packet for our principals when they came back-they're very familiar with our crisis management plan. However, I asked them to review it again."

Within the next few days, students and staff members will have additional crisis drills, while district officials explore technology and infrastructure improvements to control who gets on campus.

"I've received a number of emails, as have our board members from parents who are well-meaning and they have great suggestions," Tomyn said. "And we will incorporate some of those in our plan as we make our plan better."

One improvement the district has been working on over the past few years is installing more fences, at a cost of $150,000 a school. Officials say they know it won't stop someone determined to cause harm, but it would deter some troublemakers.

No plans have been set to permanently put officers at the elementary schools.