California shooting has Bay area parents re-examining security


This article originally appeared on WTSP-TV and was written by Eric Glasser. To view the original article, click here.

Tampa, FL – Mondays deadly shooting at a school in San Bernardino, California, has a lot of parents reassessing the rules and regulations when it comes to adults entering their children’s school campuses.

It’s a reasonable question for any parent to ask, considering the policies might dictate your child’s last line of defense.

In San Bernardino, two children were shot, one of them fatally, in the wake of a domestic dispute. An estranged husband, checking in at the office to visit his wife a teacher. After killing her and wounding the students, he turned the gun on himself.

All of the coordinators got an email today reminding them of it, said Pasco County Schools spokesperson Linda Cobbe.

Cobbe said it got officials talking about what improvements, if any, could be made.

Adults entering Pasco schools need to show ID, which is then run through a software system called Raptor. The database is checked for criminal or sexual offenders.

Now they may expand that list.

Say you have a restraining order or that theres a custody issue, or, if you’re just afraid of somebody, said Cobbe, That person comes in and swipes their ID, this red flag comes up and says do not enter.

10News WTSP reached out to the others school districts in our area.

Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, and Hillsborough schools also use Raptor or a similar ID software program.

In Polk, Citrus and Hernando County, policy gives the principal or a designee the authority to decide who and when access is granted.

For parents, like Sandy Lopez, whose 12-year-old attends a middle school in Hillsborough County, the shooting also raises, again, the issue of weapons detection at schools.

How do you stop that? I don’t know how you do that, said Lopez.

In March, officials arrested a student at Tampa’s Chamberlain High School for stabbing a classmate in the chest with a steak knife. In Lakeland, a 14-year-old was arrested for bringing a gun and ammo to class at Southwest Middle School.

It certainly an issue for me, because I do have a child in middle school. And I do worry about what could happen at their school, said Lopez.

Yet, not a single district in the Bay area uses metal detectors.

Hillsborough, the largest district by far, admits in part, it would be an enormous expense. But further, they say, it may also be impractical to put a device at every entrance. And the idea of funneling students through one entrance checking belts and hair clips, for example, searching book bags, etc., would take entirely too long.

For now, the school district leans on its school resource officers, and encourages students to report anything suspicious.

We want to make sure that our schools are welcome and places, but we also want to make sure that they are secure, said Hillsborough schools spokesperson Tanya Arja.

In the meantime the deadly shooting in California has at least some schools talking.

If we can do something to make this not happen in Pasco schools, said Cobbe, Then I will do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen.