Orange County schools prepare security for new school year

District rolls out full school year of random security checks

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - With only three weeks to go until the end of the 2012-2013 school year, the metal detecting wands came out in every Orange County high school after a student was found with a loaded gun in his backpack at Colonial High School.

Now, just days before the first bell of the new 2013-2014 school year, those wands are getting dusted off, ready to be used again as Orange County Public Schools rolls out a full school year of random security checks.

"Whichever school we select is selected at random," said Orange County Public Schools spokeswoman Kathy Marsh. "Every person entering the school that morning -- staff members included -- will be wanded with handheld metal detectors."

Marsh said a gun in a backpack may have started the metal detectors in high schools, but something more sinister prompted even tighter security in elementary schools.

After last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Orange County sheriff's deputies started patrolling every Orange County elementary school. They will not be returning this year, said Marsh.

Schools will still have access to police, but they won't be in the large numbers they were.

"We still have the coverage we feel we need to make sure our students are safe. I don't think safety is being put in jeopardy," Marsh said.

School starts on August 19 for Orange County Public Schools, which provides public education for Orlando and many surrounding cities.

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