Hillsborough schools have secure start to new year - WFLA News Channel 8

Hillsborough schools have secure start to new year

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Hillsborough High School Hillsborough High School
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

When Hillsborough County students head back to class Tuesday morning, they'll walk into more secure schools. 

The district spent $1.6 million in security upgrades this summer. They installed cameras and fences. You'll have to push a buzzer to get into some schools. All visitors will now have to enter and exit through a single, controlled access point.

Back to School: Special Section

"We want our schools to be friendly, but we also want them to be safe," said Superintendent MaryEllen Elia.  "This will be a change for some parents and we don't want people to think that we don't want them on our campuses, but we need to know who's on our campus."

The changes are in response to December's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Elia asked the School Board to place a permanent officer at each elementary school in the district.  The request wasn't approved, but Elia says additional officers and deputies will now patrol schools during the day.

"They won't see a person assigned to every single school, every time.  It will be a rotation and so they're will be people at the schools," she explained.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office requested federal funds to hire additional school deputies.  The department should find out if it will get the grant next month.

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