Volusia Cty, FL: Armed officers in schools, active shooter drills, increased mental health services

June 12, 2018, Daytona Beach (FL) News Journal: Armed ‘guardians’ to staff Volusia County elementary schools next year Although still hopeful that more school security funding is on the horizon, the Volusia County School Board approved Tuesday a plan to put armed officers in elementary schools across the county — and not a moment too soon…. The district will hire 44 guardians, or armed security officers, to staff elementary schools. These school district employees will not be sworn police officers or sheriff’s deputies, and will not have arrest powers. It’s a hybrid program that combines the use of school resource officers with guardians. … The $158,000 price tag for the trainings includes the cost of weapons, which the district will own and issue to guardians, vests, initial weapons training and the 132 hours of state-mandated training. In future years, the annual cost for guardian training will be $2,200…. Instead of guardians, seven elementary schools will instead receive school resource officers from the Daytona Beach and South Daytona police departments. In addition to the guardians, the district will also hire a school guardian supervisor, an administrative position. …. At the same time as the district approved the hiring of 44 guardians, it also approved a partnership with the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation to train students and staff in violence prevention and intervention, to take place between August and October. Under the free program, students will be taught how to look for warning signs, signals and threats, especially on social media, how to be more inclusive and connected to each other, and how to identify, intervene and get help for people who may be depressed and suicidal. The next school year will also bring active shooter drills, increased mental health services and improved structural facilities at the schools.