Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Districts' Safety Plans

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Districts' Safety Plans

Article excerpt

Byline: Khristopher Brooks

Here are the security plans at area First Coast school districts:

CLAY COUNTY

The district doesn't have school resource officers at its elementary schools. The officers at the middle and high schools make rounds to the elementary schools "at least once a week," said Bruce Harvin, the district's coordinator of operations, safety and security office

Different types of individuals have clearance for elementary school grounds, including volunteers, parents, school district staff, fire and rescue workers, JEA meter readers and health department employees.

Harvin said all the doors and gates at the elementary schools are locked, forcing all outsiders to come in through the front door.

In the event of a shooting, surviving students would get access to the district's "interventionist team," which includes a school psychologist, a nurse and a district administrator.

Harvin said it's even more important for his school district to stay prepared, considering the 2009 abduction and murder of Somer Thompson, the Grove Park Elementary student.

DUVAL COUNTY

If something happens in proximity to a school, it will keep students inside classrooms and draw the shades. If an emergency occurs inside a school, classrooms will be locked.

"What you're trying to do is isolate everybody into a room and don't let anyone see or communicate easily," said Paul Soares, Duval's chief officer of operations.

Schools have a trained officer assigned to every middle and high school campus except Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, which has a low incident rate. Elementary schools do not have officers on campus.

"The presence of law enforcement officers is always balanced against the impact it has on children," Soares said. "At an elementary school, because you have kindergartners, first- and second-graders, you tend not to want to have a law enforcement officer walking around all the time. …

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