Its been nearly 3 months since the Parkland school shooting, which took the lives of 17 people in South Florida, and the Clay County School District is taking action to keep your child safe while at school. During the districts school board meeting Thursday, the board approved a plan to put armed civilians in place in elementary schools. The district calls them School Safety Officers. The district says 27 will be put at elementary schools across the county and the district says, including benefits, they will make a little more than $29,000 a year. The district says the plan also calls for School Resource Officers in all High Schools, and Clay Deputies in all Junior High Schools.
Previously the school district and the sheriff’s office wanted to have deputies in all schools, but Superintendent Addison Davis says the district doesn’t have the funding for that option.
“I wish I had a piggy bank. I just don’t” Davis says.
The district says the option approved is estimated to cost more than 1.2 million dollars compared to the 5.6 million for deputies in all schools.
The job description for the School Safety Officers says the they won't have any law enforcement authority except to prevent an active assailant incident, which is similar to the plan passed by Duval County Public Schools on Tuesday.
Other requirements include having a High School diploma, being at least 21 years old, and having a concealed weapons permit. The officers will have to go through a 144-hour firearms safety training course from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office which includes active shooter training and how to properly handle a gun. The district says the new officers must be able to pass a psychological evaluation as well.
Superintendent Addison Davis says they will have trained School Safety Officers in place by next school year.
We checked in with the St. Johns County School District and they tell us they are continuing to work with law enforcement to put a plan in place so your children are safe.