Parents, students react to school safety proposals
11:09 PM, Jan 16, 2013
As the president addressed school safety during his remarks on gun control Wednesday, a St. Lucie County school was on lock down for some time this afternoon because of nearby shooting activity.
Port St. Lucie police and St. Lucie County deputies responded to Rivers Edge elementary off St. James' Drive after a report of shots being heard behind the school.
It turned out that the shots came from a residence on the other side of the river behind the school, and the resident was legally shooting his firearm on private property. A school resource officer was stationed at the middle school next door.
Providing for additional school resource officers was part of the president's speech.
Many parents have been on edge since the Newtown tragedy last month.
"Everyone's talking about it, everyone is concerned. Everyone wants to see how the schools are equipped, what their lockdown drills are," said Theresa Hampton, whose kids go to Palm City Elementary.
In St. Lucie County, all high schools and middle schools have assigned School Resource Officers. They rotate for elementary and K-8 schools. It's a similar situation in Martin County where the district works closely with the Sheriff's Office.
During his speech Wednesday, President Obama said in order to make schools safer, schools should have the choice between trained and armed police or increased counseling services.
"If you do have a resource officer, they should be armed I believe. It's the only way to keep the kids safe," said parent Samantha Delaski.
In a statement, Martin County Superintendent Laurie Gaylord said, "Safety is paramount in everything we do. Providing safe learning environments is always our priority. Our District works closely with the Martin County Sheriff's Office and its School Resource Officers, who are Sheriff's deputies that receive specialized training to work in our schools. This partnership has been in place for many years and is very positive. We will be meeting with the new Sheriff this week to review our school security measures. In addition, our District and school staff are evaluating crisis plans to ensure we are doing everything within our power to keep our students safe. I look forward to receiving more information on any additional Federal funding our District may receive that can be used to enhance safety in our schools."
St. Lucie County Superintendent Michael Lannon said this is a good first step and it's important to show kids that School Resource Officers are positive law enforcement influences. The issue he said will come down to funding and what will happen in the long term.