District officials hear update on staffing of SROs at Volusia County middle schools

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Board members for Volusia County Schools are meeting Tuesday.


One topic up for discussion is school safety.

In recent months, the district agreed to staff all middle schools with school resource officers.

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It came after a rise in concerning behavior among students.

On Tuesday, school leaders and representatives from the sheriff’s office said the law enforcement presence is making a difference.

There’s been a 53-percent decrease in weapons showing up on campus, which has become a major issue in Volusia Schools in recent years.

The sheriff’s office said more than 80 weapons were confiscated on campuses last year alone, so school board members were glad to hear that number was starting to trend downward.

District safety officials also said disciplinary issues during the school day have decreased since deploying the deputies.

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There was a slight decrease in Gaggle alerts on some campuses, which are what deputies receive when a school threat is made.

Officials say it’s not clear what’s caused the decrease in threats at some schools.

District leaders wanted to add the deputies to middle schools after seeing a rise in calls for service between August and October of last school year.

The cost of hiring the extra staff was just over $500,000 and came directly from the district’s budget.

The school district’s Director of Safety and Security, Todd Smith, believes the new model should remain in place.

“We are helping kids. We have all our middle and high schools covered. The data supports this is a worthwhile program. It aligns with our goals and helps us meet them,” Smith said. “Additionally, and most importantly, it makes our kids safer.”

The school board will also vote on a new random student search policy Tuesday, which the district has said would be “minimally invasive.”

Schools would be chosen at random through a computer. Once picked, moving metal detectors would be brought to the school.

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Students would only be searched if they set off the metal detector.

The board is expected to make a final decision on the new policy Tuesday night.

Stick with Eyewitness News for updates on that vote.

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