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Leon County Schools plans to begin using Guardian program

Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 18:22:23-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County School Board members voted Tuesday night to start using the Guardian program to keep students safe while on campus.

LCS now becomes Florida's 44th of 67 county school districts to do so.

The Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Act requires districts to have a school resource officer or trained guardian at every school.

Leon County Schools Safety and Security Coordinator Jimmy Williams told ABC 27 the district experienced great challenges keeping up with that requirement.

"The Leon County school district, up until this point, we've used law enforcement because that we felt that's our best choice to secure our schools. But with the shortages and with COVID and other challenges that law-enforcement agencies are facing we are just wanting to utilize the guardian program as a backfill," said Williams.

The program allows schools to get assistance from guardians who've completed the required 144 hours of training. Williams expects those will be active or retired first responders.

At this time, the district does not intend to use the Guardian program to arm teachers or coaches. Ideally, they expect to have the additional guardians in place prior to the start of the next school year.