Parents say Audubon Park Elementary School overlooking security concern

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Nearly two weeks after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, parents at an Orlando elementary school say a security concern has been overlooked for months.

When guests go to Audubon Park Elementary School, their first stop is the office where they're supposed to be buzzed in, but multiple parents said the buzzer and the lock have been broken for months leaving the school vulnerable.

"With all the shootings and problems you have to be safe, the schools should be locked at all times," parent Juan Candela said.

Visitors are supposed to ring a bell, identify themselves and wait to be buzzed in according to parents. News 6 recently watched as person after person just walked in.

"From 8 in the morning, until school is over usually that door is available to be walked in with no problem," Candela said. "So that's a concern."

Entering the office then gives visitors access to the rest of the school, parents said.

Drew Byrne who has a daughter at the school said the broken buzzer and lock are an open secret.

"They've been very open that it is in the process of being fixed, that it is broken." Byrne said.

After a gunman killed 17 people and injured 16 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Orange County School officials held a press conference saying security was top priority.

"In Orange County Public Schools, I want everyone to understand how seriously we take student and staff safety in every one of our facilities," superintendent Barbara Jenkins said.

News 6 obtained maintenance records from Orange County Public Schools confirming the district has been notified of the problem.

There have been 16 incidents reported to the district in the past two years of "door locks not working" at the school.

School officials would not comment on the locks.

"OCPS does not comment on the security design or strategies for district-owned facilities," a district spokesperson said in a statement via email.

Parents said they hope being vocal will lead to the locks being fixed.

"Every other school never expected something to happen and it just happens," Candela said  "It's better to be safe than sorry."

In 2014, the district "implemented multiple security measures" for all schools and district-owned facilities according to the statement.

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