Parents express concern over safety, guns at Volusia School Board meeting

Parent wants quicker notifications of safety concerns

DeLAND, Fla. – Parents spoke for hours at a Volusia County School Board meeting Tuesday evening, where the topics of safety and arming teachers were discussed.

"To get an alert on a phone from Channel 6 on my way to pick up my son from school, saying it was on lockdown and that someone was arrested for a felony bomb threat ... " parent Marcie Hair said.

Hair spoke to the school board, asking them to notify parents more quickly of security concerns at her son's school. 

"It was so important, because I send my child to school and put him in the hands of these people every single day, and I'm tired of being a nervous wreck when I drop him off at that school," she said.

Parents expressed their opinion on arming teachers and adding metal detectors, as well.

"I'm a retired educator, teacher and administrator and I just don't think guns have a place in the classroom," Jewel Dickson said.

"This is not a gun issue. Guns don't kill people. People kill people," said Tony Ledbetter, chairman of the Volusia County Republican Party, adding that he backs the school board 100 percent and wants to have additional security, including giving teachers guns.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said during the nine school days following the Stoneman Douglas shooting, they've had nine cases where students face criminal charges for making threats.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood said it isn't feasible to staff every school in the county with a deputy, and he supports arming teachers.

"It's voluntary. Let the school board vet them, let us go through a psychological exam and train them because at the end of the day, it is going to be impossible for me to put a deputy in every single school in Volusia County and sustain that," Chitwood said.

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