LANTANA, Fla. — The Palm Beach County School District has been working to make sure 50 charter schools have officers come the first day of school. Last month the school board passed a proposal to approve $4 million to assist charter schools with security.
Senate Bill 7030, signed by the governor three months ago, requires all school districts to provide all public schools, including charters, with a full-time trained and armed security officer.
"We had very short notice. We've done this in a matter of weeks. It's really a credit to all of the law enforcement professionals in this county, we all work together and we're all partnering up and teaming up sharing resources," said Chief Frank Kitzerow, Palm Beach County Schools Police Chief.
Chief Kitzerow said with the help of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and local municipalities, charter schools will be covered.
Marie Turchiaro, executive director at Palm Beach Maritime Academy said she got the call Friday during meet and greets with hundreds of parents.
"My understanding is that the school district will be providing 60 days security," said Turchiaro.
Turchiaro has been proactive, the public charter's elementary and secondary schools have had private security for years.
"Right after Sandy Hook I said...so you know, we hired a private security company and we've had them ever since," she said.
But the latest state mandates require private security officers at schools to meet certain training and background requirements. Turchiaro said the security guards will be going through "Guardian" training.
"We've had a lot of angst with this because there are so many rules," added Turchiaro.
Chief Kitzerow said that's where the school district comes in. He said he is working with the Palm Beach County sheriff to figure out the training for the security officers contracted by charter schools.
There are about 50 public charters in the district.
"Because of the quick turn around of Senate Bill 7030 and demands being placed on us, it's truly been a big challenge for the school board because it's up to us," said Chief Kitzerow. "We have a wildly important mission here protecting these kids."