Security measures tightened at Duval and Clay schools following deadly Texas school shooting

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Following an elementary school shooting in Texas that killed more than a dozen children, at least two school districts in northeast Florida will step up security measures on their campuses.

Greg Burton, the chief of the Duval County School Police Department, informed the students’ families of the heightened security in a message Tuesday night, saying the decision was made out of caution.

The school’s police chief said in the post that no backpacks or large purses will be allowed for the remainder of the week at any public school in Duval County. Small purses will be permitted but will be subject to search.

Burton noted that in addition to the armed police or staff security officer from each of the schools in the district, “all of our leadership officers will be in the schools for the remainder of the week, and we have asked d other law enforcement agencies in the area to be especially vigilant around our schools.

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Friday is the last day of school for students in Duval and Clay counties.

Additionally, Burton’s post reminded people to report any threats to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

And he offered his condolences to those affected by Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families whose lives have been forever affected by the events in Texas today,” he wrote. “While their loss is heartbreaking to me, we remain true to our mission to keep students and staff safe.”

Below is the full message sent to DCPS families:

“Hello Duval County Public School families, this School Police Chief Greg Burton is calling.

“Words cannot describe the feelings we have here in the District as we watch the tragedy unfold at a school in Texas today. While we are deeply saddened, we also want to let you know that we will be increasing our safety measures at all schools for the rest of the week with great caution.

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“Effective immediately, no backpacks or large purses will be permitted in any public school in Duval County this week. Small purses will be permitted but will be subject to search. Repeat: There will be no backpacks or large purses allowed in our school for the rest of the week. small handbags will be will be allowed, but will be researched.

“I remind you that all our schools have a policeman or an armed security guard. Additionally, all of our command officers will be in schools for the remainder of the week, and we have asked other law enforcement in the region to be especially vigilant around our schools.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families whose lives have been forever affected by the events in Texas today. Although their loss is close to my heart, we remain true to our mission to keep students and staff safe. staff. In closing, may I also remind you that school safety is a partnership. If you see or hear of a threat to our schools, please notify us or the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office immediately. Thank you for your assistance, and I look forward to a safe and secure closure of our school year. Goodbye.”

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Clay County Schools Police Chief Kenneth Wagner also shared a message Tuesday night for parents, students and teachers.

He stressed that there is no direct threat to schools in Clay County, but as a precaution they have partnered with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Green Cove Springs Police Department and to the Orange Park Police Department to reinforce security measures and law enforcement presence on campuses for the remainder of the week.

Wagner reminded people, “If you see something, say something.”

Below is the full message sent to families in the Clay County School District:

“Parents, Students and Faculty of Clay County District Schools:

“We are deeply hurt by the tragic events that unfolded today at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Our heartfelt condolences go out to everyone involved.

“Clay County District School Police want you to know that there is no direct threat to any school in Clay County. However, out of an abundance of caution, we have partnered with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Green Cove Springs Police Department, and Orange Park Police Department to enhance security measures and police presence at all schools to the rest of the week.

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“School police will be readily available to answer questions. And, as a reminder, if you see something, say something! You can contact any school official or send a tip through the Saferwatch app.

Friday is the last day of school for students in Duval and Clay counties.

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All Rights Reserved.

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