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Dramatic rise in weapons brought to public schools in South Florida

Statewide, reports of weapons on campus are up 63%
weapons in public schools Palm Beach County Treasure Coast
Posted at 6:37 PM, Aug 09, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A nationwide trend shows more kids caught smuggling guns and knives to school.

Mo Canady, the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers said there is a reason for it.

"When we talk about adolescents, they're certainly heavily impacted by what they see and hear on social media," Canady said, "and what they see on television."

Mo Canady the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.png
Mo Canady, the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, explains why there is a rise in weapons in public schools.

Canady’s association represents police officers and deputies who protect schools across the country, who are seeing a rise in weapons found on public school campuses from coast to coast.

The area is seeing a rise in weapons in schools, as WPTV crunched numbers from the Florida Department of Education.

WEAPONS IN SCHOOLS
DISTRICT
21-22
20-21
19-20
18-19
17-18
PALM BEACH
204
55
83
108
134
ST. LUCIE
43
20
14
34
26
INDIAN RIVER
6
4
7
16
7
MARTIN
2
0
0
1
8
OKEECHOBEE
5
2
4
2
0
TOTAL
260
81
108
161
175

There is a dip in reports of weapons brought to campuses during the pandemic, but the most recent year for reporting, the 2021-22 school year saw numbers jump.

Statewide, reports of weapons on campus are up 63% from the high water mark of the 2017-18 school year.

Schools along the Treasure Coast saw a 37% increase in weapons discovered during that time.

The increase was 52% Palm Beach County, where the school system’s police chief weighed in.

Palm Beach County School Police Chief Sarah Mooney.png
Palm Beach County School Police Chief Sarah Mooney shares why the increase may be attributed to more people being vigilant reporting weapons.

"If there was any trend on those type of situations, it was that we had people who were engaged with what was going on," Palm Beach County School Police Chief Sarah Mooney said, "knew what to do and reported it appropriately."

Palm Beach County Schools hope new metal detectors will stop and eventually deter students from sneaking in weapons.

Canady warns schools also need to make sure no one sneaks in weapons through unattended doors or windows.

"We can screen people all day long at the front entrance with metal detectors" she said, "but we're unintentionally creating a false sense of security."

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