LARGO, Fla. – Leaders with the Pinellas County School District and bay area police departments are in the middle of inspecting 123 school campuses to make sure the buildings are as safe as possible for the upcoming school year.
With just 7 weeks until the start of school on August 13th, district leaders are going building-by-building looking for things like unlatched doors, checking the locks on windows and testing every gate on campus.
The security checks are one component of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Safety Act passed by Florida leaders in response to the deadly high school shooting in Parkland, FL in February.
Monday, district leaders were accompanied by Largo Police Officers as they inspected Ponce De Leon Elementary School. The safety inspection process takes 5-6 hours per high school and 3-5 hours per elementary and middle schools, according to Clint Herbic, the associate superintendent of the district's operational services department.
District leaders started the work of inspecting each school on June 1. They plan to have all 123 campuses completed by July 19, in time to send a report to state leaders.
Herbic says they will make required safety upgrades to ensure each building is safe.
The district also plans to look at how school staff, teachers, and students handle security measures, like making sure visitors sign in, gates are closed and doors remain locked.
As part of the safety sweeps, Pinellas County school staff are also making sure lighting is adequate, signage is clear, and landscaping doesn’t create blind spots where an intruder could hide.