While some school districts are struggling with the politics of protecting their kids from shooters in schools, Florida has taken action. Here in Polk County, the Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies will be hiring citizens to be part of the Guardians Program. When they put the call out, 400 people applied for the 90 positions.
The program was enacted in response to the Parkland school shooting. Applicants will be put through a rigorous screening process, including psychological testing. These employees will be hired in addition to the school resource officers in place. Here is a partial job description:
Guardians won’t have the power to make arrests, but they will be in uniform and carry guns while protecting elementary schools. Training, which lasts approximately three weeks, includes 80 hours of basic firearms training, 16 hours of precision pistol training, eight hours of defensive tactics and 12 hours of legal issues.
School safety guardians will be School District employees with the same benefits as other employees. Starting annual pay is $30,000 for 10 months of work and two months off for the summer. The total benefit package is valued at $40,000.
People from all ages and walks of life have applied. The Rev. Stephen Bolden, 43, believes he will have time to run his church and serve the District. Another applicant, Alexandra Ramos, who will enter Florida Southern College as a junior in the fall, is a retired Marine and can handle an M16 rifle.
I’m proud to live in a state that makes the safety of our children a priority.