Superintendent maps out school safety plans in workshop

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Safety and security is at the forefront of the minds of educators, law enforcement, and families.

Bill Husfelt, Superintendent of Bay District Schools, believes they have always been a priority, even before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Bay District Schools hosted a School Safety Workshop Monday morning. School principals and district personnel were in attendance.

Husfelt explained immediate and long-term plans for area schools.

"In the next few days, we're going to have armed security at every school for the remainder of the year," he said.

One parent and organization leader who attended the workshop said she is confident in school leaders' ability to address safety.

"I came here a little bit worried, and I'm leaving very relieved," Hiba Rahim, CAIR's Northwest Florida Regional Coordinator, said.

Like Husfelt, she is also concerned about funding mental health.

"I see that the school board has the right mindset and has the right agenda in place and, like I said, I want to see a little bit more focus numerically in terms of funding on mental health," she said.

One big takeaway from the workshop is continuing to build upon security measures already established in Bay District Schools, such as securing front office spaces that would funnel visitors in and out of one entrance.

This practice has been used in some schools for a few years now.

Husfelt is also asking to borrow $4 million to finish these projects.

"We would borrow it on a capital-side investment, which is construction, and so we have the ability to do that. We would just pay for, the board would have to determine how long they want to pay on it and what interest rate and how we would go about doing it," Husfelt explained.

In addition to taking care of brick and mortar, he wants to take care of those on the inside: the students.

"We've got to have specialists in the schools helping children understand the situations they're in and how to deal with life that they're dealt with," he said.

He recommended the staff help the children and technology help the staff with the touch of a button.

"The part that the teachers and administrators in each school will use and load on their phone is called School Guard. The part that the law enforcement officers will load on their phones is called Hero 911," Ruth Corley, Public Information Officer of the Bay County Sheriff's Office, explained.

A measure to be used when minutes matter.