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Increased security at Palm Beach County graduation ceremonies

Posted at 5:55 AM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 14:08:02-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County School District graduation ceremonies begin Wednesday at the South Florida Fairgrounds, and with them comes added security measures.

All guests will now go through metal detectors and bag checks.

The district reduced the number of ceremonies a day from four to three to help accommodate the new procedures. Gates will open two hours before each ceremony.

There will be more officers on hand to patrol the event and other security measures behind the scenes.

School District Police Chief Frank Kitzerow says people who attend should only bring what you need to the ceremony.

“We don’t want to limit women from bringing purses, and all the things they want to bring, but just remember you’re going to have to go through screening. It’s just like when you go to the airport. The only difference is you can bring water and stuff through this checkpoint with you,” said Kitzerow.

A big reason for the changes, he says, is the post-Parkland era of school safety we are now living.

“The Stoneman Douglas incident,” said Kitzerow. “Of course the focus on school security right now and school safety is important, and we want to be on the safe side. We work hard every single day to provide a safe and secure environment for all of the children and staff that are here. We want graduation to be the same.”

He encouraged people to get there early and plan ahead because they will not delay graduation because of security lines.

It’s about them. It’s about their children graduating. It’s an important time. We recognize that. We just want everyone to be safe. Remember no fireworks, no knives, no guns, no air horns. Just use common sense,” said Kitzerow.

“I don’t mind it. I’s a good thing. It’s a common thing now days, so you gotta do what you gotta do to be safe,” said parent James English.

“I’m glad because of everything that is happening. I mean, it is needed. It’s just sad that it’s gotten to this point,” said parent Rosmery Paulino.

Click here for the 2019 graduation ceremony dates for Palm Beach County schools.