Lee County School Board finalizes safety and security changes

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

The Lee County School Board finalized safety and security changes with much of the focus on threat assessment teams Monday, which the state made mandatory following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“I think they have worked,” said Rick Parfitt, the district’s director of safety and security. “It’s an education process for us as well because it’s new.”

Parfitt said the school district learned a lot this year, including how they define what is a threat.

“We’re not always dealing with direct threats,” Parfitt said. “It could be concerning troubling behavior.”

That’s why the district is creating and implementing this new policy.

“Instead of taking a zero-tolerance approach on certain types of behavior, where individuals are referred to criminal prosecution, they may be referred to mental health, conduct proceedings and other alternatives,” Parfitt said.

Keith Ayars keeps a close eye on his grandchildren with him, so focused on the districts plans for safety and security in the school system moving forward.

“We have to count on the system to take care of those kids once we turn them over,” Ayars said. “I have confidence in our school system to take care of my grandkids.”

Ayars said he hopes these threat assessment teams evaluate every case equally.

“If someone is showing some signs or indications that there’s a problem, you can’t ignore it, even if everything checks out,” Ayars said.

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