Orange County School Board approves safety measures

Orange County is looking to protect students from school violence. At the last Orange County School Board meeting before school starts, security was top of mind. The board approved several new changes to emergency response and drills in the district.

"The safety of our students is our top priority. I mean everything we do focuses on making sure they're in a safe learning environment," said Orange County Pubilc Schools spokesperson Scott Howat.

The measures the board approved include more active shooter training for faculty, ensuring active shooter drills for students are age-appropriate and authorizing any faculty member to call for a lockdown, not just an administrator.

"Now they can call a lockdown. They can all the front office and say we need to put the school on lockdown," said Howat. It's a potentially life-saving change, because "every second counts in that case."  

These new measures stem from new legislation that went into effect after the Parkland school shooting, but Howat says they're going beyond this legislation by also adding a new "hold" protocol in the district.

"To hold a student in place until what the situation is cleared. That's not necessarily a lockdown. It's just another protocol," said Howat.

The board also approved FortifyFL, an app that allows anyone to report suspicious activity anonymously. The app is mobile and will be on every school-issued device.

"We're always looking for ways that we can keep our students safe," said Howat.