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Lee County leaders go over school safety plans in place

Posted at 10:15 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 05:57:00-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A press conference was held on Wednesday to alert parents and students of what's being done actively day-to-day to help keep kids safe throughout Lee County.

During that press conference, the Lee County Sheriff's Office went over important safety tips so that students can be aware of their surroundings.

It is important to stay alert and look out for any red flags whether that be off behavior at home, in school, or on social media. If you see something strange you need to report it.

Lee County Commissioner Brian Hammon gave a first-hand perspective of what it was like taking his kids to school on Wednesday following the tragedy in Texas.

"I dropped them off at school, just like thousands of parents did around Lee County," Hammon said. "I felt a real lump in my throat as I let them out and said goodbye to them. I can't imagine what the parents are going through. We mourn and grieve for them."

The first thing that made Commissioner Hammon feel a little less anxious was seeing the school resource officer nearby.

"I got a chance to wave at the school resource officer before I let my kids out of the car. We have a resource officer who has a gun who is right there on campus ready to respond if anything happens," Hammon said.

Sheriff Carmine Marceno echoes Hammon's sentiment, saying his officers are ready at a moment's notice.

"Two deputies in a school with a population of over 1,600 students," he said. "We train seven times more than is required by the Florida state statute. Every time we train we debrief and we see if we can do better, and what we did great, what we can do better."

Lee County Superintendent Christopher Bernier agrees.

"I mirror the sheriff and what county commissioners [said], that our top priority is ensuring the safety and security of all students and employees," said Bernier.

Wednesday's press conference took place inside the Real-Time Intelligence Center that can keep an eye on cameras, meaning schools can get more boots on the ground in real-time.

"Our patrol deputies and detectives will physically be on campuses to add an extra layer of safety and security to protocols already in place," said Marceno.

But even with deputies spread out across the county and school resource officers on hand, parents and kids need to be aware at all times.

"[Uvalde] is yet another moment of silence, and things haven't changed," said Marceno. "What needs to be taken out of the equation is the parent, guardian, or the person who believes they should not come forward to prevent this.

"To any person that thinks they are going to one of our schools and present deadly force, the message is clear: we are going to meet you with and we are going to kill you. You don't get to shoot at our children; you don't get to hurt our children."

Sheriff Marceno advises all parents to talk to their kids immediately about how important it is to report any odd behavior seen inside the school, at home, or any odd social media posts, and to make sure to report it to law enforcement.

LCSO says this is what can keep everyone one step ahead.