It was a packed house as the final group of School Security Officers, hired to protect students and staff on our campuses, received their badges during a graduation ceremony at the Instructional Services Center this week.
64 officers went through 100 hours of training by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, including active shooter response, defensive tactics, and firearms training, in addition to training the district provides.
This school year, Hillsborough County Public Schools collaborated with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Tampa Police Department and Plant City Police Department to ensure the district was in full compliance with state legislation requiring an armed, trained security officer at every school.
Since the first day of school, these agencies provided us their officers/deputies so we could have a school security officer on every campus.
The ceremony thanked our law enforcement agencies for helping our district meet the requirements of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act.
Now, these agencies have their full staff back, patrolling the streets in our communities.
The state legislation put a strain on the manpower and finances for Hillsborough Schools, however our district’s top priority is to make our schools safe learning environments for all students.
Many of our School Security officers are current or former law enforcement officers or have a military background. In addition to the officers, our district maintains a number of other security measures including access control on our campuses. All visitors to our schools, including parents, volunteers and community partners must enter through the main office, show a state-issued ID and sign-in.
Hillsborough Schools also conducts lockdown drills on our campuses once a month, which is required by state law. The drill practices how our teachers, staff and students would respond to an active, immediate threat on campus.
Damien Kelly, the Director of the State’s Office of Safe Schools will also be in attendance for the graduation. Just last week, Hillsborough Schools Chief of Security John Newman met with Director Kelly and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission in South Florida to discuss how Hillsborough Schools’ team, through the direction of Superintendent Jeff Eakins and School Board members, has been able to quickly become fully compliant with the state mandate.View Full Album