Hillsborough County schools add armed guards to school campuses

Schools already take precautions to protect students. Many schools lock the doors from the inside. Other schools have fences circling the property.
 
This year Hillsborough County Public Schools will add armed guards to patrol campuses on foot.
 
Fourth grade teacher Malissa St. Clair began preparing her classroom this week. She also has two children in school. As a parent, she worries about their safety. As a teacher, she worries about her own safety.
 
“It's always good to have someone there to back us up if we have any issues,” she said.
 
Rob Jones will patrol her school, Stephen Foster Elementary.
 
Hillsborough County School Board members added the guards in response to high-profile school shootings around the nation.
 
"It's kind of a necessary evil,” Jones said. “We hope we never have to act."
 
If Jones must act, he's been trained. Jones is certified in Florida as a law enforcement officer, but does not work for a police department or a sheriff's office. In addition, he spent 18 years in the U.S. Air Force Military Police. Jones also walked the beat for the Louisville Police Department and patrolled the streets as a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy.
 
"We will do whatever is necessary to make the environment as safe as possible,” Jones said.
 
That includes using his gun if someone tries to shoot inside the school. The principal said this is an unfortunate sign of the times. 
 
There are other security measures in place. Doors do remain locked around campus. Still, the principal said this is one extra layer of security.
 
Principal Kimberly Thompson said, "It is hitting us and so just having that presence really helps us with that sense of security."
 
“They get on campus and they know they will not meet any resistance,” Jones said of shooters. “And we are the equalizer, if you will."
 
Students in the Hillsborough County return to class Aug. 19.
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