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Local School Districts Bolster Security After Parkland School Shooting

children entering school building
School District of Manatee County
An increased law enforcement presence will be in effect for the rest of the school year in Manatee and Hernando Counties

State lawmakers have approved funding for more school resource officers for the 2018-19 school year.  

But some Tampa Bay area school districts aren't waiting to beef up security.

Starting Monday, every elementary and middle school in Manatee County will have at least one law enforcement officer on campus, and high schools will have two. 

The extra security will be a mix of Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Bradenton and Palmetto police departments.

The move comes after nearly a dozen Manatee County schools received violent threats following the deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. 

Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said it’s a good first step for a community on edge.

“We just want the parents to feel somewhat at ease knowing that there will be a certified law enforcement officer trying to keep violence off of that campus," he said.

The Manatee County School board approved $597,800 to pay for the 35 additional officers.

Wells thinks it’s a step in the right direction.

“I have two sons in public school here in Manatee County,” he said. “I look at this not only as the Sheriff of Manatee County but as a parent and wanting to make sure that my boys are safe when they go to school, just like they do."

Meanwhile, Hernando County has approved hiring ten additional school resource officers.

The additional officers will cost $887,107. The board of county commissioners and the school board voted on Tuesday to share the cost. 

Other school districts across Tampa Bay say they are monitoring school safety proposals in Tallahassee or any plans to provide money to place more officers in their schools.

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