Lake County School Board discusses arming teachers

Hiring armed safety officers would cost $941,707

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – School leaders in Lake County met Monday to discuss options for improving security in schools across the district.

At a workshop early Monday, school board members spoke about the cost of placing armed security in every school.

After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, the Florida Legislature passed a package of laws that authorized funding for armed security at schools.

Currently, there are resource officers in every high school and middle school in Lake County, but there are none in elementary schools.

According to the district, the hiring of additional resource officers at every elementary school would cost an additional $4 million.

Another option board members weighed is hiring armed "safety officers."

The program would be similar to one that was recently passed by the Brevard County School Board and would cost $941,707, according to Superintendent Diane Kornegay.

[READ: Where Orlando-area school districts stand on new safety regulations

Kornegay said the school safety officers would undergo criminal background checks, drug testing and psychological evaluations and be employed by either a law enforcement agency or by the district school board.

A third option being looked at is a school guardian program. The program would train volunteer school employees to be armed and how to respond during an active shooter situation.

According to Kornegay, school guardians are the most cost-effective option, at $84,736. The idea of arming school employees is also one that has been fiercely debated among students, parents and teachers.

At the workshop, school board members were only allowed to discuss the security options and could not make a final decision.  A vote on a security plan must take place at a regularly scheduled school board meeting.

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