Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden announces plan to train and arm school volunteers

Posted at 12:58 PM, Mar 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-01 12:58:57-05

LaBELLE, Fla. -- The Hendry County sheriff has announced plans for armed school volunteers in all county schools in an effort to protect their students.

Sheriff Steve Whidden made the announcement in a Facebook video on Thursday.

FULL COVERAGE: Parkland school shooting

The county already has one armed school resource officer at each of the county's 11 schools, but Whidden is concerned that isn't enough to protect the students.

So he says he worked with the school superintendent to come up with further protection for students.

"The plan is to take multiple, capable volunteers from each school, and allow them to carry concealed firearms in each school," explained Whidden.

He says the volunteers will be given a psychological exam, full background check, and a drug test.  They will then take a law enforcement tactical active shooter course.  Those that pass the tests and course will be sworn in as special deputies that are only authorized on school campuses.

"Frankly, I don't like the idea of having to arm school staff members," says Whidden.  "However, until the federal government, and/or state government, release state funding to place multiple deputies in every school, we have no other option."