Pinellas schools confident in security measures - FOX 13 News

Pinellas schools confident in security measures

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

Following the shootings of school children in Connecticut, many school boards have spent hours discussing school safety and security.

For Pinellas school board members, the conversation consumed about 15 minutes of a Tuesday afternoon work shop.

"I can state to you that our schools are, comparatively speaking, extremely secure," superintendent Michael Grego told the board, crediting them with launching initiatives as part of strategic planning dating back to 2007.

Dr. Gego then ticked off a number of measures already in place: armed officers at most high schools and middle schools, and nearly all Pinellas schools feature fencing, limited access points, electronic locks, surveillance cameras, sign-in procedures, re-engineered sidewalks and driveways and training for school lockdowns and lock-ins.

Given all that has already been done, major changes are not expected.

But measures are always being evaluated.

"We're out there analyzing and updating our crisis plans, we're analyzing our campuses, that's a continuous work in progress," Grego said. "We didn't start from Ground Zero when this Connecticut event happened."

The superintendent did agree with newly-elected board member Rene Flowers, who raised the separate but related issue of mental health services.

"I know that we give referrals, those processes, but what are the chances in some families that parents are going to follow up and get that child to the mental health services facility?" Flowers asked.

The board requested Gego's staff visit with several mental health service providers and report back at a future work shop. Gego said he will "...take a look at the services we're providing and try to leverage those services with other agencies in this community." He pointed out the school system alone cannot address mental health challenges.

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