Bay County Sheriff’s Office and Bay District Schools pairing together for school safety push

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 7:33 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - With the recent mass shooting at a Texas Elementary school that killed 21 people, school safety is on everyone’s mind.

Including at Thursday’s Bay District Schools’ Superintendent’s Summit.

“Ever since the news of the Uvalde shooting, your hearts been broken and you’ve been soul searching on what we can do to respond and prevent school shootings in Bay County,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.

Student safety is always a big concern for local officials, but after last week’s Robb Elementary School shooting, many educators and parents are on edge.

“Let me tell you, my first priority and the thing that keeps me up at night, and the thing that I focus a lot of attention on, is the safety of you and your students and the schools and our kids in this community,” Ford said.

During the summit, Ford addressed school safety. Events like what happened in Uvalde and the Parkland school shooting in 2018 have really stuck with him.

“After Parkland, Superintendent Husfelt, Chief Jones, and I got together the next day, and really that situation really affected me,” Ford said.

That’s why they started using the SchoolGuard app.

“One of the things we did after Parkland is initiate the SchoolGuard app, which administrators have, certain teachers, that are able to put that on their phone,” Ford said. “Its sole purpose is to alert law enforcement in the event of an active shooter.”

A partnership they hope will keep kids and educators safer.

“It just brings a peace of mind, knowing that if something, God forbid, happens that our folks are prepared and willing to do what they need to do to protect everyone,” Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said.

In an active-shooter situation, district employees are able to notify local law enforcement through the SchoolGuard app. The alert will issue an alarm to all LEO officials in the area including those that may be off duty.

According to BDS officials, most district folks and all principals have the app and many other school staff have it as well.

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