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Leon County School System adds armed guardians to afterschool programs

LCS adds new safety initiative to protect students in afterschool programs
Posted at 6:14 PM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 18:42:57-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "We'll continue to add layers to this initiative as we see the need but, I would venture to say we are way ahead of most other school districts across the state of Florida and across the country with what we're doing right here in Leon County," said Rocky Hanna.

The Leon County School board will now provide armed security or better known as guardian angels.

"Their number one responsibility is to ensure if someone comes to campus with bad intentions that they eliminate that threat, point blank," said Hanna.

One guardian will be appointed to each school within the Leon County School District, providing safety for all students pass the bell. Meaning, patrols won't stop once school ends but instead carry over to after school activities like tutoring, clubs, sports, and dances.

One of the hardest challenges Leon County Schools faced when getting this security upgrade off the ground was how would they be able to sustain it.

"Those opportunities are often times for one year or two years. So, when we implement a program it's really important that we also have a plan to sustain that program," said Brooke Brunner.

In order to keep this new initiative going, the school district is including a safety component into the grants they apply for each year. Also, they’ve added a small fee to their tuition that will carry the program throughout the years.

As for what's next, the school district is currently working through their guardian program to hire staff. The district will offer current resource officers the extended hours of a guardian and if they decline, the school system will work with the sheriff's office and guardian program to fill the positions.

“Safety is one of our number one priority and it really does give us a sense of additional security," said Brunner.

This initiative has been in the works since the beginning of the school year and will take effect starting the first week of February.