It’s clap out day at Trinity Oaks Elementary.
Fifth graders are getting a final farewell before moving on to middle school.
When students return to school in August, armed security guards will be in place.
Wendy Miller will be one of them.
“Their worry should not be what’s going to happen in school today. Their worry should be a school test or what they are going to wear school the next day.”
You can call Miller a "Grandmother with a gun." She was a detention deputy at the Pasco jail for almost a decade. “Us being there could be a deterrent” says Miller.
She’s also worked in the school system with special needs children and still substitutes.
Her plan is to engage everyone on campus, from the hallways to the car lines.
“So you know when somebody is not supposed to be there.”
She’ll also work to establish a trust with students and law enforcement.
“I don’t want them to be afraid because I am there. I want them to feel safe and just blend in like a regular person.” “Hopefully this will deter individuals from attempting to do something to harm our children,” said parent Patty Sutton.
The Pasco County school district says they’ve already extended offers to 50 people to fill the new safety guard positions at elementary schools. It’s part of a state requirement passed after the Parkland attack.
Six of the guards, including Wendy, worked for the Sheriff’s Office. Eight are military veterans. The rest have at least eight years of experience in law enforcement or other comparable backgrounds.
The Sheriff’s Office will start training the guards next month. They will not have the power to arrest anyone. Those who pass physical and psychiatric tests will be on duty starting next school year.