PORT CHARLOTTE - Charlotte County public schools are on "high alert" after Friday's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left more than two dozen dead, including 20 children.
"It used to be that education was the top priority for our children," said Charlotte County School District spokesman Mike Riley. "And today it seems their well-being and their safety is our main concern."
The district is now on high alert, according to Riley.
"It just breaks your heart," he said. "It makes you want to take your kids and wrap them up in your arms and hold onto them."
The superintendent met with staff and district security Friday to review safety procedures. Each Charlotte County public high school and middle school have one armed school resource officer.
The county's 10 elementary schools share two armed officers.
Riley says there are other security measures built in to the schools.
"Once you get into the foyer," said Riley, "you have to be be buzzed to get through double doors" that lead to the classrooms.
In the event of a shooting, Riley says all nearby schools would go into lock-down. When an unauthorized person is in the building the school goes into "Code Red." Classroom doors are locked, and shades are pulled down.
Nobody can enter or leave a classroom at that point, Riley said.
Parents would be notified by a recorded message that would be sent out. He says the district has six phone numbers for each student.
"It would be recorded immediately," said Riley, "and sent right out."
According to Riley, the schools have been practicing "Code Red" drills so they would know what to do in the event of an emergency.
"This is a tragedy," said Riley. "Anyone who cares about kids, their heart has to be broken today."