WUFT News

Safety measures increase at Alachua County elementary schools

By on January 24th, 2013

Instead of getting to know new students after winter break, every elementary school in Alachua County had to get to know their new deputy. After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last month, schools across America started exploring new ways to keep their students safe.

One way, said Lt. Todd Kelly of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, is to redirect police units to make sure schools are in good hands.

Before, the county had a traffic unit and a cops unit, which is a community-oriented policing unit. Both units have now been temporarily dismantled and reassigned to elementary schools throughout Alachua County.

“Instead of reporting to a shift where they go out and enforce traffic laws, we’ve done a shift in priorities and put them in schools until we can work out a permanent resolution,” Kelly said.

One deputy is assigned to each elementary school in the county, and they are all fit for the job. Kelly said every deputy at the agency goes through a direct threat training on an annual basis and sometimes even more frequently.

Kelly said every deputy is capable of protecting a school, but it’s their real-life training that prepares them for the worst possible scenario.

Jackie Johnson, spokeswoman of Alachua County Public Schools, said a lobbying effort to gain state funding, which would keep deputies in schools, is among the prepared resolutions.

School systems have endured very deep budget cuts over the last few years, as have counties, cities and law enforcement agencies, she said.

“They simply don’t have the money to fund school resource officers at all elementary schools,” she said. “That’s going to have to come from either the state or the federal government.”

For now, no additional funding is being used for the current safety efforts that have been in effect since early January, Kelly said.

Along with training for extreme cases, deputies are also able to address issues that nearly every school faces – bullying, for example.

The role of a deputy is not confined to the school’s hallways and parking lots. Being an alliance for the community is arguably as crucial, Johnson said.

“A lot of times you find that a strong bond of trust develops between the students, parents and their school’s resource officer because it’s somebody that they see, talk to and work with on a daily basis,” she said.

Rebekah Geier edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

[FILE] A file photograph showing an American Flag and empty student desks inside an Atlanta, Georgia school.

Research Shows Paddling Still Prevalent in Florida Schools

Many school districts that allow corporal punishment are in Florida’s northern rural counties, with Suwannee near the top of the list. A team of University of Florida researchers is calling for an immediate end to paddling, a source of increased dropouts and lawsuits, according to a research study.


Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 3.02.19 PM

Fundraiser Drives Marion County Elementary School Students to Create License Plate Art

By making art on license plates, elementary school students flex their creative muscles while raising money for their schools’ art programs.


Students at Norton Elementary School wait in line as they're served dinner for the first time at school. Norton Elementary now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner; Norton Elementary Serves It All

In addition to breakfast and lunch, Norton Elementary School now serves dinner to students enrolled in its after-school program. Dinner is currently scheduled to be served at 2 p.m.


Yes For Marion County Schools table at the Journey Into Reading event at Central Florida State College. The theme of the event was "seasons" and we were designated as "winter."

Amendment 4 Could Bring Back Marion County Teachers And School Programs

On Election Day, Marion County voters will vote on Amendment 4, which calls for the millage rate to increase. The extra money will go toward school programs and teacher salaries, potentially bringing back laid-off, first-year teachers.


Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.22.22 PM

New FCAT Replacement Test To Be Computer-Based

The new test set to replace the FCAT this March will be computer-based. Some educators are worried the test may be a disadvantage for students who are not used to working on a computer on a daily basis.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments