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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018 1 month ago

OCPS, law enforcement step up school security

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OCPS and local law enforcement leaders discussed what measures are being taken to step up school security.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

Orange County Public Schools will be increasing security measures this year. 

Local law enforcement and OCPS leaders on Friday, Aug. 10, announced measures taken to increase security in Orange County schools.

“At Orange County Public Schools, we have spent $20.3 million in keeping our students and our staff safe,” School Board Chairman Bill Sublette said. “And with the approval of the upcoming final budget in September, our School Board will invest an additional $11.6 million on safety and security measures. The state has also provided us with an additional $9.1 million … for mental-health resources for our students and for additional school resource officers.”

Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins detailed plans for security.

“There are additional hardening-of-school initiatives going on — some are very visible,” Jenkins said. “You see a card reader at the front door. You see fences going up. Those are visible. I want to assure you there are several initiatives that are not visible that we won’t be talking about, but we’re very pleased that those initiatives are in place as well.”

Jenkins added that some security initiatives have to remain confidential for safety reasons. She also said one of the added security measures will be increased, random metal-detection screenings on students at all middle and high schools. Some school administrators at each middle and high school will be trained and authorized to conduct student screenings with a metal detector wand. 

“The message we have to get across is that every day, any day, throughout the day, all day, our students can be checked, can be wanded — so do not bring anything inappropriate on campus,” Jenkins said.

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the state enacted a law requiring law-enforcement officers on school campuses.

OCPS District Police Chief Bryan Holmes said each school will have an assigned resource officer.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said OCSO will provide 105 deputies to serve as resource officers at schools throughout unincorporated Orange County at a cost of $16.8 million. Of the 105 deputies, 38 will be assigned as resource officers temporarily. Demings also said resource officers will have access to active-shooter response kits.

Jenkins said OCPS will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to school threats made on social media.

“It is extremely important that our entire community remembers, if you see something, say something,” Jenkins said. “We need to report it. Do not spread it, report it to law-enforcement agencies or to the school.”

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. He graduatedĀ from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science. Got a story idea? Contact Eric at...

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