Flagler County school district rolls out security plan

Safety concerns remain priority weeks after school shooting

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – The Flagler County School District unveiled its new security plan Thursday morning.

James Tager, the district's superintendent, first discussed enhancing security that's already in place.

"We're looking to enhance single-point entry systems on our campuses," Tager said. "We're taking a closer look at hardening our campuses to include improved fencing, door locks, window locks and protective film."

Six school resource officers currently cover the nine schools in the district, and community leaders are demanding a total of 13 officers. They need money from Tallahassee, however, after the community once voted against paying for added school security.

"Unfortunately, today our society has changed and we could no longer overlook this need," Sheriff Rick Staly said.

Staly said that every deputy will be equipped and trained on how to use an AR-15 rifle. The sheriff also proposed utilizing retired law enforcement officers and veterans, making them special deputies to guard schools and work with the resource officer.

"That would only be done if the law allows it, the school district approves it and supports it and only after conducting an extensive background, psychological and additional firearms and legal training," he said.

School leaders also emphasized the importance of mental health professionals on all campuses.

"We want to increase the number of psychologists to have one at every school. We have eight. We need nine. Mental health professionals in the district -- we want to increase those. We have two social workers, we need to increase that number," Tager said. "Our students, teachers and staff deserve the safest and most secured environment, and we will provide that for them."

The superintendent said the Department of Homeland Security will visit every campus to determine how it can be made safer. Students and staff will also be participating in active shooter training.

Tager said the school district needs financial support from the state to make these security measures a reality, and needs more than its normal funding, which, he said, has been steadily dropping for Flagler schools.

About the Author: