TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Classes are underway in schools across the Tampa Bay area, but what’s the state of safety, security and preparedness?

Safety enhancements were mandated in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy in 2018. But 8 On Your Side found some schools across the state are still lacking.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is the chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission that was formed after the Parkland shooting. He says schools are safer now than before but there’s still work that needs to be done.

“The reality of it is, it’s going to happen again. We’ve seen this time and again, and the question is when and where?” Sheriff Gualtieri said.

There are more than 4,000 schools in Florida. Sheriff Gualtieri says each campus now has locked classrooms, a single point of entry and at least one person armed with a gun.

It’s called site hardening. While it doesn’t completely block a shooter, it should slow them down.

“All of those things are in place to mitigate the harm if an event happens,” Gualtieri explained. “It’s what’s going to keep from having mass casualties when the event happens, it’s going to stop it as soon as it starts.”

Sheriff Gualtieri says it’s time to put the focus on prevention.

Each day, dozens of potential threats are reported. The tips are examined by police or, at times, by so-called threat management teams at schools.

“The way you connect those dots after you’ve gotten the information, assessed the threat, is through threat management,” Sheriff Gualtieri explained. “And that’s looking and seeing what you can do based upon the behaviors and the statements and put the person on a safety plan — is there something actionable there to make an arrest? Baker Act or whatever it may be.”

Each school in the Tampa Bay area has a threat assessment team.

“Some of them are being done well, some are not, and there’s a lot of room for improvement so we need to make them all robust,” said the sheriff.

Right now, the commission is working to improve the process.

Gualtieri says the commission is also asking the Florida Dept. of Education to produce data on another safety measure: silent panic alarms. The alarms, required by Alyssa’s Law, allow school officials to immediately notify police of an active shooter.

“We don’t know whether we’re in compliance,” said the sheriff.

Another recommendation yet to be perfected is incident reporting. Schools are required to report everything from vandalism to rape and battery.

“We’re seeing some problems where those incidents are not being accurately reported, we need to get our arms around that,” said Sheriff Gualtieri. “Because they’re indicators of a culture. They’re indicators of the climate of the campus.”

The work to secure schools is never-ending.

“There’s no finish line to school safety,” said Sheriff Gualtieri. “And it requires a team effort by law enforcement, by the schools, by the parents and by the kids themselves.”

If you have questions about the safety measures at your school, check in with the principal. They’ll have information that the state may not have gathered yet.

Another thing you can do to help secure schools, according to the sheriff, is download the Fortify FL app on your phone. The reporting app allows you to anonymously report school safety threats to law enforcement.

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