Florida District Reviews Security and Safety Improvements Made Following Parkland Shooting

Florida District Reviews Security and Safety Improvements Made Following Parkland Shooting

According to St. Lucie Public Schools Superintendent Wayne Gent, schools now have a single entrance point, and larger campuses have changed the way students access the campus. All fences are being raised to at least 6 feet high and visitor protocol stricter.

Sheriff Ken Mascara and St. Lucie Public Schools Superintendent Wayne Gent discussed Jan. 11 the school safety and security improvements made to district schools following the Parkland shooting last February.

Mascara said that officials decided to put a deputy on every school campus “almost overnight,” going from 26 to 53. According to Mascara, the school resource deputy program costs his agency more than $6, of which more than $2 million comes from the school district and about $3 million from county commissioners.

“We’re in the deficit every year on this program, but it’s important to our schools, it’s important to our children, it’s important to the teachers and it’s important for our community, so we do it,” Mascara said.

According to Gent, schools now have a single entrance point, and larger campuses have changed the way students access the campus. All fences are being raised to at least 6 feet high and visitor protocol stricter.

Gent said that after the Parkland shooting, the district hired five more social workers and more school psychologists. Security cameras have been installed as well.

“I always say, only take for granted those things that you want to go wrong,” Gent said. “There’s a heightened awareness from everyone on campus, from the students to the staff.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Brian Hester said all threats are taken seriously— “I mean every single threat.”

Mascara said if there’s a threat and there’s concern about its validity, it’s not dropped.

“That’s what we saw as some of the [Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission] recommendations from Broward County — that these cases have to be followed up over and over again,” he said. “That’s what they feel did not happen in Broward County.”

Students can also use the FortifyFL and See Something Say Something apps to report suspicious things on campus, Gent said.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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