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Lee County uses new laws to make schools safer

Ramping up school safety in Lee County
Posted at 11:01 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 23:01:11-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- There have been more than 200 school threats across Florida since the Parkland mass shooting.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference with other local officials addressing the recent threats and what changes have been made in schools across the district over the past year.

In 2018 there were a total of 15 school threats in Lee County.

“We’ve already seen 14 this year, we are putting our resources into addressing this issue," said Amira Fox, State Attorney.

One resource at Lee County schools are Threat Assessment teams, a behavioral approach to preventing violence.

“It gives us the opportunity to involve students and families early, and i think that’s the critical piece the early intervention of problem behavior,” said Rick Parfitt, Director of Safety and Security Lee County Schools.

There’s also a mental health aspect.

“We have established agreements with community behavioral health providers to provide mental health service to our students,” said Superintendent Greg Adkins.

Here’s how it works.

After a threat is notified to the threat assessment team, a fact-finding process takes place.

“A student that’s crying out for help, there’s some underlying problems, but we have to identify those early enough so it doesn’t become a major crisis,” said Parfitt.

Next, the team gathers more information about the concern or student involved by talking to peers and teachers.

If the person is posing a threat, the team comes up with a plan to respond and manage or reduce the risk.

“We want to spending about 80 percent on prevention piece and 20 percent on the reaction piece and i think it’s a reverse of what it’s been,” said Parfitt.

According to the Lee County School District, there's not an official number of times this has been used since each school individually handles there own team and some don't reach district level.

The full guide can be viewed here.