Officers to be in every Manatee Co. school by March 5

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, February 26, 2018, 5:34 PM EST

Starting Monday, March 5, a police officer will be stationed at each public school in Manatee County, according to school district officials.

Administrators from the School District of Manatee County, as well as top law enforcement officials, decided during an afternoon meeting to move forward with the plans.

The school district had come to an agreement last Friday to place an officer in each elementary and middle school, while putting two in each high school. It would mean a total of 34 law enforcement officers would be added to the area schools.

"We're getting ready to go into the testing cycle. The last thing we need students and parents to be worried about is whether or not their safe in our schools," said Scott Hopes, Chairman of the School Board of Manatee County.

The change comes following a turbulent week for both students and parents. More than 12 threats at local schools have come in the days following the tragic shooting in Parkland.

On Friday, administrators chose to ban backpacks for the day.

Mike Barber, a spokesperson for the county, confirms that on an average day about 6 percent of students district-wide are absent from school. On Friday, about 15 percent were absent.

The cost of adding these officers will be about $1 million for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year, and could hit $5 million for the 2018-2019 school year.