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One parent said new safety changes aren't enough

7:36 PM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- School starts Monday in St. John's County, and lots of security changes have been made across the district.

The changes include new cameras, a single point entry system and increased technology to be in contact with police. But for one parent, that's not enough.

"My biggest concern here in security," said Thomas Reynolds. 

He has a 6-year-old getting ready for first grade at R.B Hunt Elementary School. 

Reynolds said the systems are in place, but he wants to see a police officer or sheriff's deputy in front of his child's school. 

He said if there's not one on the first day - his son may not be in class. 

"I am so concerned that if by some chance they can't get a full time police officer here by August 19, I'm pulling my child out of this school and I'm going to home school him," said Reynolds.

Paul Abbatinozzi is the Director for School Services in the district. He said there are plans in place at every school for a list of situations. When it comes to being safe, "I am 100% confident," he said.

Over the summer, for schools that don't single point entry systems in place, new cameras have been installed, along with electronic door locks. 

The schools include Gambel Rogers Middle School, Liberty Pines Academy and Wards Creek Elementary. 

Also, all 34 schools in the district are getting new radios that will allow them to have police ready at the push of a button. Abbatinozzi said the security plans are always improving.

"We do a great job with school safety, but it's not something we're gonna sit idly by and be complacent with," he said.

Despite the changes, parents like Reynolds said it's simply not enough.

"We have the finest law enforcement in Florida, and we can't have one at our Elementary Schools," said Reynolds. 

First Coast News

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