Central Florida schools discuss security amid campus shooting

School districts across Central Florida are at a heightened level of security following Wednesday’s deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

A code red alert drill was scheduled Thursday morning at Rock Lake Middle School in light of Wednesday’s shooting, but it was canceled.

A code red is to alert students and staff about a possible active shooter on campus.

The Seminole County School District holds two code red drills every year -- one announced, one unannounced.

“Now that we have witnessed 18 of these types of active shooter situations just this year, I think that emphasizes a little bit more how serious we need to take these things,” Rock Lake Principal Dr. Jordan Rodriguez said.

Students are taught to find the closest room they can get into.

“During a code red, nobody exits. The doors are locked. We would hit the lights off, so it’s completely dark,” Rodriguez said.

Students and teachers huddle in the dark and don’t speak. They’re also not allowed to use their cellphones because of the light that could be emitted from the screen.

“If something is on campus that you know it not supposed to be here, you got to say something,” Rodriguez said.

Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Desmond Blackburn said in a statement, "Our focus today across Brevard Public Schools is to support our students and staff through this time of emotional shock. Our prayers are with the families who lost loved ones in Broward County, some of whom live right here in Brevard. BPS will continue to take steps to improve security in our schools. We are grateful for our partnership with the Brevard Sheriff's Office and city police departments, which have made strenuous efforts to keep our schools safe."

In Lake County, classroom doors are always locked to reinforce the single point of entry on campus, district officials said.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods posted on Facebook that 12 school resource officers are in 12 schools, seven in middle schools and five in high schools.

Active shooter drills are conducted on a regular basis, Woods said.


A MESSAGE FROM MARION COUNTY SHERIFF BILLY WOODS ON SCHOOL SAFETY Hello, Marion County, I'm your Sheriff, Billy Woods. I want to take a moment to talk to our citizens… and our parents… about the horrible tragedy that occurred at a Broward County High School in South Florida yesterday. I want to tell you what we do here in Marion County to protect our children and to give you a sense of comfort during these worrisome times. Currently, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office has 12 school resource officers (also called SROs), who are seasoned deputy sheriffs. They are placed in 12 schools, seven in middle schools and five in high schools. These SROs are trained, equipped and willing to protect the children of Marion County at a moment’s notice. We conduct active shooter training on a regular basis at different schools, so that staff at each school is experienced with this vital training. We have three active supervisors in our Juvenile Unit and an additional roving SRO to help monitor and address incidents at our schools as they happen. Our SROs are in constant contact with our Patrol deputies as well, which helps us address incidents quickly and responsibly. The MCSO takes ANY kind of threat to our student’s safety EXTREMELY seriously. You can DEFINITELY expect a visit from us if we receive information that your child has threatened violence towards others at our schools. Also, if we find that you are trespassing on school grounds, you will be subject to arrest. Parents can also expect to see an increased presence of our deputies at schools in an effort to discourage anything like this from ever happening. We would like to encourage our students to SAY SOMETHING if they see something. Please encourage your children to come see one of my deputies if they feel like something is just not right. If they don’t feel comfortable doing that, there is a 24/7 hotline called “Speak Up” that students can call to report any suspicious activity. The Speak Up number is 1-866-SPEAK UP, and students can remain anonymous through this reporting. They can also call the Marion County Crime Stoppers at 352-368-STOP.

Posted by Marion County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, February 15, 2018

Orange County School District Superintendent Barbara Jenkins sent a phone message to parents Wednesday night to let them know that significant and confidential measures are in place.

The Osceola County School District sent out a social media post about student safety being a top priority.

Please read this important message from our Superintendent and School Board.

Posted by Osceola County School District on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office also posted to social media to discuss safety measures at the schools.

Volusia County schools said in a Facebook post that they have substantial and confidential safety measures in place for students and staff. The district has also asked law enforcement agencies for additional surveillance at the schools.

The tragedy that occurred in Broward County has caused many to pause and reflect on security measures at schools....

Posted by Volusia County Schools on Thursday, February 15, 2018