Florida’s recently passed “safe schools” budget calling for law enforcement agencies to hire a school resource officer for each public school doesn’t include enough money or recognize the difficulty of hiring and training sworn officers, Lakeland’s police chief and Polk’s sheriff say.
Posted on social media by the Polk County School Board: “Please be advised that weather forecasts for this afternoon show stormy conditions and other possible severe weather could impact Polk County, as well as other surrounding counties. As a result, all afterschool activities and sporting events for Polk County Public Schools have been canceled for this afternoon.”
Students claim administrators at McKeel Academy of Technology prevented students from holding a solidarity-with-Parkland rally at 10 a.m. today as other schools around the nation did and instead held a fire drill. School officials have not responded to requests for comment. ABC Action News reports students had been threatened with detention if they participated in a walkout and quotes students who speculate the fire alarm was created as a cover when administrators realized they had made a mistake and that a crowd outside the school would look good for the cameras on TV station helicopters in the area.
YOUTUBE: View the entire discussion at today’s School Board work session, starting at 1:20:50.
News Channel 8 says it has heard from several parents who say Polk County schools ignore head lice issues. The one mom who went on camera says her son came home from Lakeland Highlands Middle School with lice three times. While the mother says the school told her they can do nothing about lice, school officials say they have no record of her calls and claim they require a doctor’s note or a head check for students returning after being sent home by the school.
In a YouTube message, Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd urges legislators to improve school superintendent in ways other than arming teachers: single-point-of-entry systems, metal detectors, fences and surveillance cameras.
The program has provided 132 hours of arms and law enforcement training to eight Southeastern University faculty members, who carry concealed weapons on campus. It has gotten national attention as proposals to arm more teachers are being debated following the Parkland school shootings.