As the new school year kicks off, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office and the Osceola County School District are working together to keep students, teachers, and administrative staff safe in schools. The new security measure will include SRO body cameras, real-time school cameras and anti-bullying measures.
During a press conference at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, Sheriff Marcos shared a video that showed the intense training the deputies underwent during summer vacation. This comes after nineteen students and two teachers were shot and killed and seventeen others were injured at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in May.
“Our job is to keep your children safe at school. We understand the enormous responsibility of making sure your children come home safely at the end of every school day,” Osceola Sheriff Marcos Lopez said during the opening of a conference of press Tuesday.
The Osceola Sheriff’s Office has implemented a new anti-bullying campaign that will focus on raising awareness about bullying and encouraging students to report it to teachers or mental health counselors.
Osceola Schools Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace said the Osceola County School District will have seven new school health professionals looking for signals such as changes in grades or behavior, and if a “red flag” is seen, they will contact local law enforcement.
“We have trained school resource officers at each district-operated school, and as Sheriff Lopez said, we have two at each of our comprehensive high schools. These officers have been carefully selected by the three law enforcement agencies. They want to be a part of our students’ lives, they’ve shown a great willingness to get to know our students,” Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace explained to the sheriff’s office.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office will use real-time crime cameras at all schools to monitor any security threats that may arise. The new cameras will enable rapid response to any situation, and all of its SROs will wear body cameras in high schools, and all school SROs will soon be equipped with body cameras – giving the Sheriff’s Office the ability to have live feeds from the school campuses as needed, according to Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez.
“Time and time again we hear of school shooters who were horribly bullied as children which led them to act horribly. If we can prevent bullying, we can prevent a shooting,” Sheriff Lopez said. “However, we cannot do it alone. Students, teachers and parents should intervene if they are concerned about a student’s behavior.
Bullying and other suspicious activity can be reported directly to school staff or through apps such as Fortify Florida or Crimeline’s Speakout, both of which allow for anonymous reporting and provide a direct line to a local 911 dispatch.
“Together, we are committed to protecting our teachers, students and schools, and disruptive acts will not be tolerated,” Pace said. “If there is an active shooter lockdown exercise or an active shooter situation, everyone knows what to do. We are going to take action to protect as many people as possible,” said Dr Pace.