Schools to increase security

Alert sent to parents on gun violence

Published On: Dec 09 2013 06:58:51 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 09 2013 11:25:38 PM EST
security
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -

A new alert is going out to all parents about guns and violence in Orange County schools.

Orange county leaders say parents need to do more to keep guns out of the hands of kids and they need to know what their kids are up to.

"Parents will be better off taking a stance of tough love today rather than tomorrow of having the misfortune of going to the hospital, morgue or funeral," said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Demings stood side-by-side with Orange County School Superintendent Barbara Jenkins, School Board Chairman Bill Sublette, school board members, Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney and State Attorney Jeff Ashton on Monday in encouraging parents to be more vigilant.

Monday night, Jenkins also sent a recorded message to all parents, urging them to call authorities and report anything suspicious.

"We all need to be vigilant about anything that doesn't look right," said Jenkins.

School leaders also announced the number of random metal detection screenings at schools will increase.

The announcement comes on the heels of last week's school shooting at West Orange High School. In that case, a student opened fire on a classmate, who is still recovering from three bullet wounds.

Diane Blue is one of thousands of parents who received the superintendent's message, but she's not sure what else schools can do to keep kids safe.

"I think it's a societal issue. I don't think that you can stop the bad people from doing bad things," said Blue.

Blue knows the threat all too well. Her child was at Winter Park High School when a Facebook post threatened to shoot up the school almost one year ago.

In March, at Glenridge Middle School, a seventh grade student was found with a fully loaded MAC 10 and a handgun inside his backpack.

In May, officers found a fully loaded .22 magazine at Glenridge Middle School.

Last week's gunfire at West Orange High is believed to be the first school shooting in the county's history.

"This is a community-wide issue, not a school system issue," said Superintendent Jenkins. "What happens in the community spills over to schools."

Sheriff Demings also said parents should not be afraid to search their kids cars, rooms, and belongings for drugs or guns