No new state cash for security at Florida schools

3:16 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting prompted Florida lawmakers to debate a variety of bills to beef up school security, but the final state budget does not provide extra money for that purpose.

The Florida Legislature decided to keep school security funding at about $65 million. That money mainly pays for resource officers in middle and high schools.

The Florida School Boards Association pushed to increase that funding to around $100 million to pay for more school resource officers and building improvements.

Instead, state lawmakers set aside about $1 million to help schools complete security assessments of their campuses.

"They can contract for a security assessment looking at things like personnel, security practices, drills, fire alarms, building or facilities requirements and be able to at least come up with an evaluation of those," said Ruth Melton of the Florida School Boards Association.

Lawmakers also considered legislation to allow teachers or administrators to carry guns at school, but it did not pass.

That's a relief for the School Boards Association. Melton says the group adamantly opposed the idea.

"This has nothing to do with 2nd Amendment rights. It has to do with setting an example and it's not that carrying a gun in and of itself is a bad example. It's more carrying a gun at school and suggesting that it's normal and acceptable for guns to be available at school."

Melton argues that whatever level of training schools might give to a teacher or administrator, it still can't equal a uniformed police presence.

Without new funding from the state, some school districts are moving ahead with security improvements on their own.

Dave Heller

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