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Hardening Schools. What Does it Mean?

February 28th, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda

There has been a lot of talk about hardening our schools in the State Capitol since the Parkland shooting two weeks ago, but as Mike Vasilinda found out, hardening means different things to different people.

No one gets into the Capitol without a swipe card.

Or going through a metal detector manned by armed police,

State Representative Joe Grueters (R-Sarasota):


“There’s no question this building is secure, and every child in every school should feel secure.”

It’s a fact not lost on Andrew Pollack, a parents who lost a daughter in Parkland.


“No one’s worried someone’s coming through that door with a gun” said Pollack as he spoke before the House Appropriations Committee as at least 8 Sargent at Arms personnel looked on.

The buzzwords for the future: “Hardening schools”. But what does it mean?

Sen. Bill Montford is a former School Superintendent


“Superintendents, principles, teachers are experts at this if you will, and they can not tell you exactly what it means to harden a school” Montford told us.

Experts say it could be a live video feed to police who can trigger gates to shut down hallway access, or Panic Buttons, or other security enhancements.

Sheriff Grady Judd.

“Sometimes it’s as easy as closing and locking a door” says Judd, who favors training and arming volunteer teachers and administrators.

When FSU Shooter Myron May wounded three people in 2014, he was kept from doing more damage by a simple swipe card. Security video shows May approaching a turn style, then turning away when he couldn’t easily enter.

FSU Police Chief David Perry told us a year later the turn style saved lives.


“So without that turn style system, our shooter walks right in the library, he finds a comfortable quite place, and then he takes out his weapon and he starts shooting” says Perry.

When we asked about swipe cards for schools, we were told very simply, that’s going to be up to each individual district.

For now, attention at the Capitol is on arming teachers or banning assault style rifles. Little is being said about the specifics on how schools will be hardened.

Lawmakers are budgeting 400 million dollars for school safety. Most of it will be spent hiring new school resource officers.

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