TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Parents and students in the Hillsborough County School District can expect to see heightened security at schools across the district following a deadly shooting in Texas that left 19 students, and two teachers dead.
Superintendent Addison Davis announced the new security measures Wednesday alongside Hillsborough County Schools Chief of Security John Newman, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, and Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor.
“We have taken the necessary protocols to protect our students and the working conditions of our adults every single day,” Davis said.
The superintendent reiterated the security measures already in place at schools across the district including a 4 ft perimeter fence, surveillance systems on every campus, and an “armed asset” that is “ready and primed to protect” students, faculty, and staff.
“It is no longer in Hillsborough county where you can walk into a school without being buzzed in properly,” Davis added.
Community members can also expect to see Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies and Tampa police officers patrol school grounds and student crossings across the district for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.
“Schoolwork is hard enough,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “Let [students] go to school and worry about them getting educated. They shouldn’t have to worry about going to school and wonder ‘am I safe here today, is today the day that I live or die.'”
“I can say this is unimaginable, but openly, we’ve seen this over the years, too many different times and it is blatantly unacceptable,” Superintendent Addison Davis said.” This type of behavior has no place in schools.”
Chief of Security John Newman added the school district is doing everything it can to protect its students.
“It’s a tough day to get up and go to work if you’re a teacher. It’s a tough day for parents to drop their kids off,” Newman said. “All we can tell you at the school district, we are doing the best we can to keep your treasures safe.”
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said deputies will be assigned to schools in the county “Just so the children are reminded that they are safe and they should feel safe going to school.”
Several Tampa Bay area school districts have already confirmed an increased police presence at schools, out of an abundance of caution. According to a previous report from WFLA, school districts in Pinellas and Hernando Counties already confirmed additional security measures at schools in the final days of the 2021-2022 school year.