New measures are being put in place to keep Pinellas County's youngest students safe.
Starting Monday, the district's security team will make random security checks at elementary schools. District leaders also plan to increase the presence of their Pinellas School Police officers on elementary campuses. And school leaders are working with local law enforcement to get more officers to visit elementary schools when school is in session.
School Superintendent Michael Grego sent a phone message to parents to alert them of the heightened security efforts.
"We want all students to feel comfortable, safe and nurtured while at school," Grego said in the voice message. "Please know that everyone in the district is committed to the safety and security of all our students and that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that they are protected at all times while on our campuses."
Along with district-wide changes, school principals are looking into making changes at each school.
"It's not a cookie cutter, one size fits all," said Plumb Elementary principal Seymour Brown. "It's something we're assessing the needs of each individual school."
At Plumb Elementary, the county's largest elementary school, the principal is adding two surveillance cameras, and reducing the number of entrances parents and visitors can use during school hours. Also starting Monday at Plumb elementary, parents won’t have as much access inside the school once they drop their children off in the morning.
"At some point we're going to say, it's students only, parents at that point will not be able to come into the building because we want to make sure that when the bell rings at 8:35, classroom and instruction is ready to begin," Brown said.
But parents like Jennifer Wright want to see more. She's hoping the district will consider the hiring of permanent armed security officers. It's a move they're already talking about in Hillsborough County.
"I think we do need more security at all our schools," Wright said. "I know our high schools and middle schools have a school resource officer so I don't see why we should leave out our most vulnerable youngest children."
A spokesperson for the Pinellas School District says they are not proposing the hiring of permanent armed security officers right now. Instead, they're using the staff they currently have as school leaders evaluate the security needs of each individual school.