SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County elementary schools are safer this year. For the first time ever, school resource officers are on every campus.
It's a day of firsts: first time wearing new shoes, first time carrying new backpacks, and first day jitters. Those are the signs of the start of a new school year.
"I'm excited about learning," third grader Lucas Moreton said.
It is also Lucas' little brother's first day of kindergarten at Red Bug Elementary and he won't be the only one looking after him. This year marks the first time ever all Seminole County elementary schools have their own dedicated school resource officer.
"The safety and security of our kids and our staff is our No. 1 priority," Seminole County school board member Dee Dee Schaffner said.
The school board unanimously approved the plan last month. The board agreed to spend almost $5 million to staff 21 deputies. The cost will be split between the school district and the sheriff's office.
Parents say they money spent is well worth it.
"It's good to have some kind of law protection over the children, all day every day," parent Heather Howell said.
School officials say all of the positions are filled. The officers went through their training last week and they are all in their new schools for the first day of classes.
"I think it makes all the parents feel that their kids are safer, makes us feel better about dropping our kids off and leaving our kids here all day," parent Katherin Moreton said.
The school district hopes the SROs will also be a positive connection between law enforcement and the young students.
"To have that relationship, not to be afraid of them, to see them as friends and as protectors," parent Josh Hinkle said.