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Where Orlando-area school districts stand on new safety regulations

10 die Friday in shooting at Texas' Santa Fe High School

ORLANDO, Fla. – Less than 100 days after 17 people were killed at a South Florida high school, another mass shooting was reported at a school in Texas, this time claiming 10 lives.

CNN reports that Friday's shooting at Santa Fe High School marked the 22nd school shooting so far this year, which averages out to more than one per week in 2018.

The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 prompted lawmakers in the Sunshine State to pass a public school safety act aimed at creating a more secure environment for students and teachers alike.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act calls for enhancing criminal penalties for those who make threats against schools, raising the age for gun purchases from 18 to 21, creating a violent threat restraining order to allow the court to prohibit a violent or mentally ill person from purchasing a gun and banning bump stocks.

The act included a $450 million budget proposal to strengthen safe guards at public schools across Florida. As part of that, every public school must have a school resource officer, participate in active shooter training and establish a threat assessment team, among other things.

In light of the mass shooting in Texas, News 6 checked in with officials from Central Florida school districts to find out where they stand on improving school safety and meeting the requirements of the recently passed legislation.

Below is a list of their unedited responses. This post will be updated as more replies are received.

Orange County Public Schools

1. At this point, how many more school resource officers do you need to hire to meet the new requirements for your district? 

We are currently in compliance with the new law. OCPS is anticipating it will be adding officers to school campuses but that number is unknown at this time. 

2. By July 1,  superintendents must designate a School Safety Specialist. Has your district done so at this point? If so, can you please provide me with the name of that person and their qualifications/background?  If not, can you tell me how many people you have interviewed thus far?

OCPS District Police was created in 2015. The combined experience of this team is impressive with an average 27 years serving in high ranking positions within law enforcement, including Chief of Police, Lieutenant, Commander and Sergeant. 

3. By July 1, each school board is expected to determine how many people they intend to train using the Feis Guardian program. Can you tell me if this has been determined and the number your district intends to train?

The School Board does not support arming school staff but rather allowing trained law enforcement personnel to respond to an emergency. 

4. By Aug. 1, each district must complete a security risk assessment for each campus. Has your district completed this?  If not, when do you expect to complete?  

The outside security consultant we’ve acquired is conducting an update to the security risk assessment and will be completed by the deadline. 

5. By Sept. 1, each school is expected to establish a threat assessment team.  How many schools in your district have completed this thus far?

We will have threat assessment teams identified by the deadline. 

Volusia County Schools

1. At this point, how many more school resource officers do you need to hire to meet the new requirements for your district?

We need 44 additional SRD/SRO or School Guardians to fulfill the requirement.  

2. By July 1, superintendents must designate a School Safety Specialist. Has your district done so at this point?  If so, can you please provide me with the name of that person and their qualifications/background?  If not, can you tell me how many people you have interviewed thus far?

We have not appointed this person, but we will by the deadline.

3. By July 1, each school board is expected to determine how many people they intend to train using the Feis Guardian program.  Can you tell me if this has been determined and the number your district intends to train?

 Our school board has not made the determination, but will be making a decision very soon.  Discussion is scheduled for the May 22 board meeting.

4. By Aug. 1, each district must complete a security risk assessment for each campus.  Has your district completed this?  If not, when do you expect to complete?

We are currently conducting the assessments and will be done by the deadline.  

5. By Sept. 1, each school is expected to establish a threat assessment team.  How many schools in your district have completed this thus far?

We have had safety and security teams at each of our schools for years.  As required by law, we will add any additional tasks they are required to complete.

Lake County Schools

1. At this point, how many more school resource officers do you need to hire to meet the new requirements for your district?

We have 23 SROs assigned to our middle and high schools. None currently in our 21 elementary schools. 

2. By July 1, superintendents must designate a School Safety Specialist.  Has your district done so at this point?  If so, can you please provide me with the name of that person and their qualifications/background?  If not, can you tell me how many people you have interviewed thus far?  

We have a Security Manager in Lake, but it has not yet been determined whether he will fill the role of our School Safety Specialist.

3. By July 1, each school board is expected to determine how many people they intend to train using the Feis Guardian program. Can you tell me if this has been determined and the number your district intends to train?

No decisions have been made regarding the guardian program in Lake.

4. By Aug. 1, each district must complete a security risk assessment for each campus.  Has your district completed this?  If not, when do you expect to complete?

 This work is underway and will be completed by the deadline.

5. By Sept. 1, each school is expected to establish a threat assessment team.  How many schools in your district have completed this thus far?

We have not yet established threat assessment teams, but will do so by the deadline.

We have a board meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Monday, and school safety is on the agenda. I expect the guardian program, threat assessment teams and many of the other things you’ve asked about will be discussed at that time. 

Marion County Public Schools
 
1. At this point, how many more school resource officers do you need to hire to meet the new requirements for your district?

37 additional SROs (we have 18 as of today)

2. By July 1,  superintendents must designate a School Safety Specialist. Has your district done so at this point? If so, can you please provide me with the name of that person and their qualifications/background?  If not, can you tell me how many people you have interviewed thus far?

Marion County Public Schools has two Safe Schools employees who oversee the safety and security measures of our 52 schools. The lead is Dennis McFatten, former law enforcement officer.  
 
3. By July 1, each school board is expected to determine how many people they intend to train using the Feis Guardian program. Can you tell me if this has been determined and the number your district intends to train?

All three options as outlined in state law remain on the table for Marion County Public Schools. No final decision has been made on which option will become MCPS’s choice. 
 
4. By Aug. 1, each district must complete a security risk assessment for each campus. Has your district completed this?  If not, when do you expect to complete?  

Yes, all MCPS schools have been undergoing security risk assessments. All will be complete by August 1. 

5. By Sept. 1, each school is expected to establish a threat assessment team.  How many schools in your district have completed this thus far?

This requirement is underway with school safety committee.  Administrative changes this summer may change some of the make-up of these teams but developing and will be in place by September 1. 

Osceola County School District

1. At this point, how many more school resource officers do you need to hire to meet the new requirements for your district?

We are working with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Kissimmee Police Department, and the City of St. Cloud Police Department to ensure that we have a law enforcement officer at every elementary and middle school and two at every high school.  We will need a total of 27 new certified Law Enforcement officers to just cover the district schools (not including charters).  We currently have 34 SROs – elementary schools share, and all middle and high schools have one.

2. By July 1,  superintendents must designate a School Safety Specialist. Has your district done so at this point? If so, can you please provide me with the name of that person and their qualifications/background?  If not, can you tell me how many people you have interviewed thus far?

We have had someone already in place for approximately a year:
Lester Yeates, Director of Safety, Security, & Emergency Management
He is former law enforcement and coordinated district safety and security in another school district.

3. By July 1, each school board is expected to determine how many people they intend to train using the Feis Guardian program. Can you tell me if this has been determined and the number your district intends to train?

We are not utilizing the Guardian program but rather working with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Kissimmee Police Department, and St. Cloud Police Department to have law enforcement SROs at every elementary and middle school and two at each high school.

4. By Aug. 1, each district must complete a security risk assessment for each campus. Has your district completed this?  If not, when do you expect to complete?  

We are currently working with the three law enforcement agencies and the schools to complete this by the deadline.  

5. By Sept. 1, each school is expected to establish a threat assessment team.  How many schools in your district have completed this thus far?

We are currently working with the three law enforcement agencies and the schools to complete this by the deadline.

Flagler County Public Schools

1. At this point, how many more school resource officers do you need to hire to meet the new requirements for your district? 

As far as School Resource Deputies, I refer you to our press release following our most recent School Board Meeting: http://flaglerschools.com/district/news/flagler-schools-school-board-inks-safety-contract-sheriffs-office

2. By July 1,  superintendents must designate a School Safety Specialist. Has your district done so at this point? If so, can you please provide me with the name of that person and their qualifications/background?  If not, can you tell me how many people you have interviewed thus far?

Dr. Earl Johnson is designated our School Safety Specialist. He has 23 years in school administration experience in school and district levels.

3. By July 1, each school board is expected to determine how many people they intend to train using the Feis Guardian program. Can you tell me if this has been determined and the number your district intends to train?

We are not utilizing this program.

4. By Aug. 1, each district must complete a security risk assessment for each campus. Has your district completed this?  If not, when do you expect to complete?  

We anticipate completing the remaining campuses well before the August 1st deadline.

5. By Sept. 1, each school is expected to establish a threat assessment team.  How many schools in your district have completed this thus far?

We have identified school safety specialists on our campuses. They will work with our School Resource Deputies in forming the threat assessment teams. We believe this will be done by the September 1st deadline.

News 6 assignment manager Jason Olson contributed to this report.


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