Officials say Florida Schools Safe

State officials say school safety is improving in Florida, in spite of several recent incidents of school violence here and around the country.

Over the last 8 years, reports of school violence have dropped 35 percent. But there were still 10,900 reports of violence in Florida schools during the 2004/2005 school year.

Wayne Blanton of the Florida Association of School Boards says one of the ways they’re responding is building safer schools. “We are having hallways where the surveillance cameras can see all the way down the hall. We’re having gymnasiums and school cafeterias and areas where students congregate, where the security cameras are built-in, they can see the entire courtyard or the entire gym.”

Blanton went on to say, “We’re making a lot of changes. We’re having more exits put into our school buildings. We’re also at the same time hiring more resource officers that are there on campus.”

State officials also credit a sweeping school safety bill passed in 2001 for the decrease in school violence, but say they need students’ help, too. They ask students to report concerns of problems on campus to a trusted teacher or an anonymous hotline if the district has one.