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Sheriff's deputies at all St. Lucie County public schools including charters

Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-08 16:53:12-05

UPDATE: On Thursday Sheriff Ken Mascara announced that public charter schools will also get School Resource Deputies. The Sheriff released this statement: 

“Citizen input is vital to ensuring our agency meets the needs of our community. Over the last several days, we have worked closely with representatives from the public charter schools in St. Lucie County to address their needs for school security.  As a result, we have developed and implemented a plan to provide the same level of security that is consistent with all other public schools.  We are pleased to now say that all public schools in St. Lucie County have a school resource deputy or officer.  These changes to further protect our schools and students have been carried out with no additional funding or hiring of new personnel. We are hopeful that the legislature’s proposed funding to sustain these resources will be sufficient and will make its way to the communities that so critically need it.”

These changes were made after the article below was published.

Did a new line of defense at St. Lucie County schools make other local schools more vulnerable? Some schools were left out of the sheriff's office plan to put a deputy at every school.

Renaissance Charter School is a public school, but it is not run by the St. Lucie County School Board.  

Only schools under the district's school board have been assigned school resource deputies. Some parents feel that makes their child's school vulnerable to an attack. 

Effective this week, there is a school resource deputy at every public school is St. Lucie County, but not every public charter school.

Sandra Langel is not happy. 

"I was upset. I was concerned. I believe that it put a target on my kids' school cause now we're the vulnerable ones that we don't have anybody here," said Langel who has three children at Renaissance Charter School. 

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said his plan is designed to post school resource deputies at all schools governed by the school board.

In a statement, Sheriff Ken Mascara said: "The safety of all St. Lucie County students and schools is of paramount importance to all of us. And while charter schools are publicly funded, they are also governed by an independent board of directors and not the St. Lucie County School Board. We welcome open dialogue with these schools as we do with all schools who are willing to discuss options.” 

Grandparent Michele Backus questions whether other schools were included in the conversation before the plan was implemented. 

"I'm a taxpayer and part of my taxes go to the sheriff's office and Port St. Lucie, the city of Port St. Lucie and whether it's public or charter or private once again, I think everybody deserves the same type of treatment," said Backus. 

Security guards at Backus's grandchild's school are not armed. She believes if there are armed deputies at all public schools her grandchildren's school should be just as protected. 

"Unfortunately, this latest shooting has brought it to light to a lot of people, myself included," she added. 

The sheriff's office also added that other charter schools have contracted law enforcement for a school resource deputy. 

The St. Lucie County School District has not responded to WPTV's request for information on the decision to not include public charter schools.

The communications team with Renaissance Charter Schools released the following statement:

"Renaissance Charter School at St. Lucie and Tradition have an excellent working relationship with our local law enforcement.  While we don’t share specific security measures, we have solid plans to address a variety of safety issues.  Our very highest priority is the safety, security and well-being of our students and we are taking all appropriate measures to harden our schools to the best of our ability."