Panelists Address School Safety at October 4 Luncheon

Protecting the lives of 45,000 students and 7,000 staff members is a daunting challenge. Collier County School Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton has been remarkably up to the task.

During her comments made at the Press Club October meeting, Dr. Patton listed the many strategies that have been employed to ensure the safety of the children. They include installing video doorbells, creating a single point of entry into each school building, and requiring all classroom doors to be locked. Each school now has its own school resource officer, and staff members are offered mental health training. When asked about the prospect of teachers being armed, Dr. Patton emphatically stated, “Teachers do not go to college to become gun carrying people.”

Also participating in the panel discussion was Deputy Scott Griffith from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Griffith emphasized the importance of schools holding active shooter drills just like monthly fire drills. He also discussed active shooter training for all officers in the Sheriff’s Department. They must learn to respond quickly as a situation warrants. There must be instilled a “what if” mindset and to be mindful of things that could happen.

The Q and A was moderated by Press Club board member Rachael Pierce and both panelists responded to the cogent questions from the press club members.

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