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Lee cities seek clarity in school security law

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jun 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-22 22:14:52-04

Local officials in Lee County are concerned about a new school security law taking effect July 1st.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act was passed in the wake of the school shooting in Broward County February 14th. The bill requires schools to have at least one school resource officer per school.

The mayor of Estero says he’s worried his council may not be able to afford additional officers once new schools are built.The law only fully funds the “Guardian Program”, which allows teachers to be armed.

Though the program is optional, and only some counties are partaking, Representative Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) says just having one school resource officer isn’t enough.

“I absolutely recommend we implement a guardian program.  think about it, there have been three mass shootings in the state of Florida.”

Estero Mayor Jim Boesch says he has concerns about the Guardian Program, and doesn’t want that to be the only option for free security provided by the state.   He says only experienced people should protect schools.

“The military people coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, fully trained would probably relish something like this.”

Boesch estimates it would cost 8 million dollars to provide security in this years budget, but the state is only covering half of it.

That half can only be used for the guardian program or to pay for special schools only police force.
“This is a school district budget problem, they say they haven’t got the money in their budget,” said Boesch.

But Rodrigues says the Lee County School District needs to take some responsibility in protecting students, and he believes the district can make room to in its budget.

“Remember they have a billion dollar budget, a billion dollars, I think they can find 3 and a half million dollars to protect our children.”

Mayor Boesch says no matter what happens with the funding disputes he will make sure Estero schools are fully protected.

4-In-Your-Corner reached out to the school district for comment but did not hear back.