GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. — We call them Guardians and after Wednesday, a new group will be protecting school grounds in Gadsden County.
Gadsden County is one of 33 counties with the program, which allows people who qualify to watch over local schools.
It takes weekends of training with the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office.
Now five trainees are about to officially become Guardians, protecting students and faculty in case of active shooter situations.
The program started in 2018 after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida.
These five Guardians were trained in firearms, physical ability, and defense tactics.
Graduating Guardian Janice Tyus says her reason for participating is to give back.
"When I say give back our most vulnerable is our youth and our kids and the opportunity to be able to protect the kids really stood out to me," said Tyus.
A partnership with the school district allowed Guardians to train at the old Gretchen Elementary school, which is now closed.
Guardians said the month-long program is intense but it’s all worth it.
Captain Bobby Collins says this class is different as they were able to train on nights and weekends.