Tampa Bay schools amp up security - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Bay schools amp up security

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It may be more difficult for an adult to get into a school this year. Several schools in Hillsborough County have beefed up security with extra fencing, new security cameras, and door buzzers.

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, elementary schools in Hillsborough County got armed officers. In January the school board voted not to continue paying to keep the guards for the 2013-2014 school year. Instead, board members decided to spend just over $1 million on other permanent precautions.

At Orange Grove Middle Magnet School in Tampa, visitors have to be buzzed in through the office, and that's after you get through all the fencing.There's also a security officer waiting in the courtyard.

"We know from talking to principals and talking to parents nobody wants schools to look like a fortress," Steve Hegarty, spokesperson for Hillsborough County Schools, said. "We try to make them welcoming warm places, but parents understand the world we live in, and having to be buzzed in in the middle of the day isn't that much of a hardship."

Hillsborough High School has a similar system to Orange Grove. Andrea Fernandez has two kids. She appreciates extra security.

"I think that's great because there are so many people," Fernandez said. "You don't know who's coming in who's going out and it's needed."

Grandfather of a Hillsborough High student, Ted Pamplona, doesn't think it's necessary.

"I think it's alright it's not going to stop somebody that's hiding something to come in."

Whether you like it or not, it looks like it's here to stay.

"There's no one size fits all," Hegarty said. "We have experts go out to school and see lay of the land and what works."

School Resource Officers remain at all middle and high schools in Hillsborough County.

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