Hillsborough Co. schools beefing up security for new school year

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A new school year is right around the corner for more than 200,000 Hillsborough County students.

"It's very exciting," said Amy Rappleyea, the principal of Barrington Middle School. 

But after the Parkland school shooting, safety is on a lot of parents' minds. School officials have spent all summer making sure every school is safe and secure for all students. 

"We have 1,478 kids and parents," said Rappleyea. "Safety is (our) number one priority." 

The district has made some major changes. Every school is now required to have at least one resource officer. Schools are also required to have lockdown and run, hide, fight drills. The district is also installing buzzers in all of the schools. 

"It's one more layer of defense in the security of our schools and access control," said Chris Farkas, deputy superintendent. 

The district has spent about $100,000 installing the new buzzers, and they have a few more schools to go. Farkas says they are applying for grants. 

"We're hoping we can get all that back from Tallahassee and there will be no cost to local taxpayers," Farkas said. "That's the goal." 

Rappleyea says these safety changes won't get in the way of teaching students. 

"They're not going to notice much of a difference because they're used to it," she said. "They're used to all the doors being locked. They're used to the gates we have around the campus." 

School starts back on August 10 for Hillsborough County. 

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