Assessments Lead to Security Upgrades at Tampa Bay Schools

Assessments Lead to Security Upgrades at Tampa Bay Schools

The Safe School Assessments, required for all Florida schools through the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act, had to be completed by Aug. 1.

Tampa Bay school districts in Florida are beginning to implement security and safety upgrades based on the results of their Safe Schools Assessments. The Safe School Assessments, required for all Florida schools through the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act, had to be completed by Aug. 1.

Pasco County has completed their assessment and submitted their recommendations for safety changes, including security cameras and upgrades to locks and door handles. Video surveillance installation is estimated to cost $840,000 and upgrading locks could cost as much as $1.2 million. The Pasco County School Board is in discussions on how to fund these security changes.

Other Tampa Bay counties, including Pinellas and Hillsborough, have also finished their Safe Schools Assessment and are now considering the changes they’ll make based on the results.

Clint Herbic, associate superintendent of operational services for Pinellas County Schools, said changes to Pinellas schools include upgrades to locks and the installation of a new classroom communications system.

“If a teacher sees something and there’s a danger on campus, we would like them to be able to hit a button, be able to explain what they see and then maintain that communication, even as far forward as to law enforcement,” Herbic said.

Pinellas school officials are working with Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies to decide what other security changes to make based on the assessment’s results. According to Herbic, about $3.5 million of the state’s $99 million in funding from the Act has been allocated by Pinellas schools, but they’ve also set money aside if further funding is needed.

“It’s one of those cases where we’ll spend and we’ll find the money that we need to make sure every school has what it needs,” Herbic said.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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