DeLand, FL – The Volusia County School Board, ahead of today’s meeting, is mulling over plans for how to comply with a state mandate to put armed guards in each of the county’s public schools.
A school board workshop was held last Thursday to discuss a proposal for funding and implementing a school marshal program to put trained, armed personnel in Volusia County schools in the hopes of preventing a mass shooting like the one that occurred in Parkland, FL on Valentine’s Day.
The proposal put forward by the school district would cost a total of over $3.5 million to hire 32 school resource officers and 44 trained, armed school guardians to be assigned to the schools next year.
“The difference between a school resource officer or deputy [and a guardian] is that they have arrest authority, and a school guardian does not,” Greg Akin, the chief operations officer for the school district, said at the workshop last week. “[Guardians] can’t detain anybody or arrest anybody. They are there simply in case something happens.”
If the current proposal is passed at the school board’s next meeting, the school district would be responsible for hiring and assigning the school guardians, and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office would train and oversee the guardians. The cost to hire them would be about $1.6 million.
The cost for hiring school resource officers next year would be over $2 million. The school district would pay 70% of the cost, and the local law enforcement agencies are being asked to pay 30%.
“We’re going to have a school safety officer (school resource deputy or school resource officer) assigned to every middle and high school. Their hours are dictated in the contract, and so it would be during the school hour day,” said Akin.
The school board is expected to vote on the proposal from the district at its next meeting at 5:30 p.m. today.