Brevard Public Schools recently sent surveyors to the campus for the purpose of adding additional security cameras throughout the school.
“We figured out where we wanted them and where we needed them,” School Resource Officer Valerie Butler said. “We’re still in limbo with that, trying to figure that out. I think it’s money of course, budget.
In response to the 2019 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, districts have increasingly added more security elements to campuses throughout Florida.
“In a stressful situation you are just going to revert to something that you’ve done over and over and over again,” School Resource Officer Valerie Butler said. “That’s why they’re doing all of this, and I understand why they’re doing all of this, even if it puts a hardship on all of us.”
Brevard Public Schools also has added more training for faculty, including a mandatory threat assessment training which is used to determine the process if there is a student on campus that is a threat to themselves or others. The school’s Threat Assessment Team includes Butler, teachers, guidance counselors and administrators.
“If something really happened you wouldn’t really even have to think too much about it, you would just do it,” Butler said “It would just be like second nature.”
The school has gone from 10 total drills last year to 10 fire drills and 10 critical incident drills, averaging one about every two weeks. The drills can take up to an hour depending on how long it takes to get each class of students in order and the timeliness of role call.
“And teachers were not happy about that,” Butler said. “I mean they already can’t fit everything in, and then we had the hurricane days we missed, plus the short days on Fridays.”
Before the MSD shooting some elementary and charter schools didn’t have a school resource officer on the premises. Brevard Public Schools now requires them to have a skillful armed person, known as a guardian, on campus. Guardians are certified to carry a fire arm, like an armed security guard. While they are not police officers, they are trained to act with lethal force if necessary.
“My job is very dynamic, you know, like I’m a counselor one day, I’m a mentor one day, and sometimes I am law-enforcement,” Butler said. “[Guardians] are not there to do anything other than react to a threat.”
Sheriff Wayne Ivy put deputies in some of the elementary schools that don’t have guardians, and are possibly believed to be feeder schools to middle and high schools where there are a lot of issues. This is because of studies show a possible link between behavioral issues of acting out in middle school and high school that can be identified in elementary school.
“I think at their age, they’re really too young to understand,” junior Chase Bost said. “They’re too young to like get the idea of how to pose a danger so to speak, and by the time they get older I feel like they might just disregard it.”
With the potential threats to everyone on campus, and the rise of mass school shootings, school board leaders are trying to make schools a safer place.
“The extra drills and the things like that are not going to really change anything,” Bost said. “Because if a kid wants to go in and cause something, they can just do it. Nothing is really going stop them — or at least not fast enough.”
By Jada Toland