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School shooting sparks tearful plea from Cape Coral student

Cape Coral Youth Council - School Safety
Posted at 10:06 PM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-30 05:19:51-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The shooting in Nashville is causing conversations around school safety to spark again.

And tearful pleas right here in Southwest Florida from a group of students facing Cape Coral City leaders—with stories of how they faced their fears at school almost every day.

During Wednesday's Cape Coral Council Meeting, students brought their concerns to city leaders.

Cape's Youth Council, which is a group of 14 members, one Junior and one Senior from each of the six Cape Coral High Schools, presented a list of questions for the city.

Some of the questions were:

  • What is the city's plan to further aid in mental health within Cape Coral schools?
  • How much is the city working with the Lee County School District to combat educational and safety issues?
  • What safety precautions can the city implement to protect students in case of an active shooter situation?
Cape Coral Youth Council Questions - School Safety

"I decided to jump over the gate at our school because I really thought someone was there," said one student.

It's a moment a Cape Coral Student and member of the Cape Coral Youth Council said she will never forget. Running in fear after students thought a dropped cafeteria pan was a school shooting.

"I still hold that anxiety until now," the student said.

She is one of the several students on the youth council that faced city leaders over concerns including school safety and mental health among other things—with council members relating.

“The one thing I just did for my twins they will be 17 is that I ordered them bulletproof backpacks," said Patty Cummings, Cape Coral council member.

This all coming days after another school shooting at a private school in Nashville, leaving these students to ask:

“Another concern is the safety of the teachers," said one student.

"I feel like we should focus more on in-the-school training with teachers and students," said another student.

“I've noticed at least two different scenarios where teachers weren't being serious,” expressed another student.

Students didn't just hear from council members, but also school leaders like the head of Lee County Schools Security.

“We have to keep moving forward. Regardless of what’s happening in other places, I need to focus on here in Lee county and what we can do to make things here better for our students," said David Newlan, Lee County School's Executive Director of Safety and Security.

As well as law enforcement.

"We have officers on campus. That school was a very small exclusive private school. That did not have an SRO on campus," said Cape Coral Police Chief Anthony Sizemore.

Sizemore said except for one private school in the city, every school in the Cape has a School Resource Officer (SRO), and the high schools have at least two and sometimes three.

“If you watch the video the assailant shot the windows out and made an entry. Our officers would have been able to make contact and engage that individual much sooner," Sizemore said.

He added that training is key, however, when it comes to prevention building relationships is vital.