CREATED Dec. 17, 2012
LEE COUNTY - Our team coverage continues tonight as security ramps up at schools around Southwest Florida. But are officials doing enough to assure your child’s safety? Tonight...Mike Mason telling you how Lee County school leaders are addressing that question.
Today Governor Rick Scott sent this press release to Florida school districts encouraging them to review and enhance their security plans in the wake of the Connecticut shooting.
Superintendent Joseph Burke: "Each incident seems to be more senseless and insane than the last one."
Superintendent Joseph Burke reacting to the ongoing violence at public schools, assuring parents that students in Lee County are safe.
Superintendent Joseph Burke "I've asked our staff as we seek sanity over the next few days and weeks that we support one another and try to stay calm and stay strong in the face of the craziness that occurred last Friday."
Burke says the district is currently in compliance with all state safety standards but admits there is more that can be done, such as hiring more school resource officers - or SRO's. Officers are now stationed at high schools and some middle schools but more are needed. Burke says it all comes down to funding.
Superintendent Joseph Burke: "It is under discussion, obviously it's a resource issue in terms of money."
Other ways to increase security include: improving video surveillance, holding more lockdown drills, monitoring visitors and only allowing one point of entry. Burke conceded there have been cases of students bringing guns to school this year but the threat is minimal.
Mike Mason: "It has happened though?"
Superintendent Joseph Burke: "Yes it has happened, yes it has happened and we've reported those incidents to the police departments, we've taken all the appropriate action."
Burke also says the Governor wants to increase security but hasn't offered to increase the district's budget to help make those changes.
Superintendent Joseph Burke: "Whether there will be some proposal in the legislature to actually do that I think that remains to be seen."
Burke says his cabinet will discuss hiring more school resource officers after the first of the year. He also says much of the district's safety plan is kept confidential so “bad guys” won't find out how to circumvent it.