This afternoon the Orange County Commission approved 3 million dollars for an increased Deputy presence in the county’s elementary school system. This action follows the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT last Friday.
Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Sheriff Jerry Demings, and Orange County School Chair Bill Sublette led the talks leading up to the unanimous “yes” vote. There were many concerns over the sustainability of the increased presence in the schools. Sheriff Demings broke down the existing level of strength in the schools (2 per high school, 1 per middle school, 1 officer per 4 or 5 elementary schools), and the different duties involved on each level of the school system, with deputies teaching anti-bullying and drug lessons in elementary schools, leading up to the more traditional law enforcement duties that are occasionally required at the High School level. He stressed an improvement of infrastructure as a more permanent solution and that existing deputies would be working overtime to fill the requests. Jacobs agreed that this measure was to “bridge the gap” until other plans were made.
Commissioners Tiffany Moore-Russell and Scott Boyd also stressed the need for longer term plans, citing that residents will insist on this becoming the standard moving forward.
With the current security conditions in schools being reviewed all over the country, can we expect action in Tallahassee next session? Or in 2014?
If the recent past is any indication, action at the state level is a strong possibility.
Unlike “Caylee’s law”, which made it illegal for a parent to ignore reporting a missing child, a state level solution would have to be a fiscally oriented one. A plan that would avoid the same obstacles the County Commission had to deal with today. The state legislature has been touting a surplus, no doubt there will be debate over existing projects or programs that would have to be cancelled or delayed to fund any improvements for school security.