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Sarasota School Officials Attend Statewide School Safety Meeting

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After a mass shooting in Broward County, education providers, law enforcement, and students gathered in Tallahassee, to discuss school safety.

Sarasota County Florida School Board Chairwoman Bridget Ziegler was in Tallahassee this week to talk about school security along with Florida's Principal of the Year, Booker High School Principal Rachel Shelley. 

Governor Rick Scott convened the task force after a gunman killed 17 people at a South Florida high school on Valentine's Day.

Scott says the input will be used to create a reform package that state lawmakers will work on before the end of the legislative session in March.

A wide range of topics was covered at the roundtable discussion, from security improvements, to gun control, and mental health.

Ziegler says the mass shooting in Parkland, in South Florida feels like a tipping point for the nation.

"We're not going to have this conversation and put some things in place and hope it works,” she said. “This is top of mind for everyone and it doesn't go away and not becoming complacent as we've seen has happened in the past."

Ziegler spoke with several students at the event. One of her takeaways, she said, is that adults often worry too much about how to balance security with a welcoming environment.

"When I heard feedback from the students, they were saying, ‘we want a heightened level of security that's visible. We also want drills and preparedness and strategies’, but the welcoming environment is not so much what they care about. They want to be safe so they can focus on their education."

Zeigler says district officials have met with local law enforcement, and are working on enhanced security measures at Sarasota schools.  Details will be discussed at the board's next public meeting on March 6th.

Community members with suggestions on the district’s security can write to: schoolsafetyfeedback@sarasotacountyschools.net

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