PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA – 122 Pinellas County public schools are about to get a security upgrade.
District leaders have signed a contract this week to add a security system that will provide live information directly to law enforcement during an active shooting situation or any other situation. large scale emergency.
This comes the same week as the first anniversary of the shooting of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
IntraLogic Solutions' technology also includes a one-button lock system that school staff can use on their mobile phone to automatically contact the forces of order and lock remotely the doors of the campus of the interior.
Lisa Wolf, spokesperson for Pinellas County, said the district could make the improvements with a $ 488,000 grant from the Department of Justice. The school board will also invest in new technology.
Sheriff Pinellas, Bob Gualtieri, is leading a national commission tasked with finding ways to prevent another school shootout. The commission uncovered one thing that highlighted the lack of communication between Marjory Stoneman Douglas School staff and law enforcement officials, which caused confusion and prevented first responders from getting into trouble. Stop the shooter before he has killed 17 students and school staff.
The head of the Pinellas County School Police, Luke Williams, said the new technology would prevent a similar communication problem.
"It will help us communicate with law enforcement in seconds rather than in minutes. In an incident like this, the seconds matter a lot, "Williams said, adding that schools are safer than ever. What I would say to parents and students is that we work extremely hard so that our children and our staff are safe in school. . "
ABC Action News met with students to hear their thoughts on security improvements over the past year.
Emily Handsel, Brenna Dukes and Hannah Mariscal all attend different high schools, but they have one thing in common: a malaise in the 12 months following the shooting of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
"Thinking it could happen to me too, it really hit me close to home," explained Handsel, who is a senior at Palm Harbor University High School.
"It's still in my head," said Dukes. She is in her second year at the private school Shorecrest Preparatory, a private school in St. Petersburg.
"I still do not feel safe," said Mariscal, a junior at Dunedin High School.
The three students spent months advocating for change as part of the "We, Students" movement in the months following the Parkland shootout. All three say that security improvements like these help them feel a little safer.
"I think it will contribute to our safety," said Handsel, "but there are constant reminders of the dangers of school shootings in the classroom. For example, we have marked areas in our classrooms that indicate safe areas. I watch this every day and I constantly remember that school shootings are a real threat in my daily life. "
Students in Pinellas County plan to continue to advocate for safety and legislation alongside their peers in Parkland.
"We are proud of everything we have done, but we have not done it yet," said Mariscal.