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Friday, March 23, 2018

Miami-Dade plans to increase security at the schools

Por Damian

A hundred extra unarmed security guards in elementary and kindergarten through eighth grade schools in conjunction with twenty new armed school agents is what the Miami-Dade school district wants to array as part of the initiative to strengthen defenses after the tragic shooting at Parkland school last month on Valentine´s Day.

According to El Nuevo Herald the district has united efforts with the county government and some municipalities to intensify police presence in schools. These safety measures were announced by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho at Wednesday's School Board meeting and represent the latest in a series of steps the school district took since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the county.

"The fear and anxiety in the minds of parents must be compensated with our willingness to listen, deploy and ensure the safety of our schools, our children and those who teach them every day," said Carvalho.

In addition, in middle and high schools the district has already arranged additional school agents to guarantee that all have a police presence. Likewise the authorities on Miami-Dade have reduced the number of entry points in each school and have ordered teachers to keep their classroom doors closed during the day. High schools are also in the course of demanding staff and students to use IDs issued by the school at all times.

When it come to the budgets, this initiative of an additional hundred unarmed security guards will cost the district approximately 1 million dollars, which is why some School Board members stated their concern while claiming this money could be used instead to hire more armed school agents. Regarding this particular matter Carvalho said the district would be willing to "re-evaluate" their plans and emphasized that the security guards are a "provisional measure" until the end of the semester and said it was "logistically impossible" to immediately place a police officer in each school, in part because of the time it takes to find and hire qualified candidates.

It is clear then that the wellbeing of those attending schools is a pressing matter that it’s been taking very seriously by the district. Actually, in consonance to a new state law that addresses this topic, Carvalho stated that for the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, there are plans to have a police officer, either a school agent or one of the local police force, at each school.