VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – With nearly 70,000 children heading back to school in Volusia County on Monday, district officials and Volusia County law enforcement assured parents that officers won’t hesitate to enter school buildings in the event of an active shooter.
“We’ve had the pleasure of having them in our school buildings in order to learn what the layout of our buildings are and how to keep our students safe,” Volusia County School Board Chairman Ruben Colon said.
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Volusia County Public Schools said the district has spend the summer working closely with law enforcement to draw up emergency safety plans to help keep students safe.
“After Uvalde, we feel it’s crucial we the school district and we, with our law enforcement partners, come before our stakeholders to let them know that if tragedy strikes on Volusia schools, that every one of the officers, the deputies and school guardians employed by the Volusia County school district are not only trained but are equipped to respond immediately,” Colon said.
During a school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, earlier this year that killed 19 children, police waited for more than an hour before entering the classroom to take down the shooter, sparking public outrage.
Daytona Beach police said that will not happen in their city.
“The policies in place prior to Uvalde are still in place. I’m confident that all of our corps are well trained for instances such as that,” Daytona Beach Police Department Chief Jakari Young said. “They know we don’t stand by. They know we respond to the sound of gunfire.”
In order to fast-track information during an emergency, school officials said the Volusia Sheriff’s Office has placed at least one dispatch radio on each campus, allowing direct communication with patrolling deputies.
The district also said teachers will be required to keep classroom doors closed and locked, warning against propping the door open at any time.
District officials also said they’ve increased the amount of mental health workers who are able to work directly with students.
“Each school has a team that’s dedicated to those schools servicing and needing their wrap-around services,” Superintendent Dr. Carmen Balgobin said.
School officials also warned that criminal charges could result if someone falsely reports a threat as a form of prank.
Anyone who does hear or see anything suspicious is asked to report it on the Fortify Florida app developed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement following the Parkland school shooting.
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