School safety law allowing private school officers to make arrests on campuses in Southwest Florida

Fox 4 | By Colton Chavez | June 9, 2022

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A school safety bill signed by governor Ron DeSantis has granted new standards for private schools in Southwest Florida to use when handling school threats.

House Bill 1421 was unanimously approved by the Florida legislature, earlier this year.

On Thursday, charter schools like Mid Cape Global Academy in Cape Coral helped show that the latest bill provides a glimpse into what safety will look like for schools in Southwest Florida.

Mid Cape Global Academy Principal, Jamie Trotter said the newest bill doesn’t change the mindset of any schools along the Gulf Coast.

“School safety is at the forefront of our minds as school administrators 365 days a year,” said Trotter.

HB 1421 in part, promotes improved training for sworn and non-sworn school officers and gives safety officers at charter schools like Mid Cape Global Academy the ability to arrest someone on their private campus.

“Currently on our campus, we have one SRO from Cape Coral Police Department,” said Trotter.

On Thursday, Trotter, couldn’t comment on school resource officers (SRO) past standards but supported the state’s latest decision.

“Anything to add more tools, to the toolbox for our schools, for our SRO’s anything to help with the safety and security of our students,” said Trotter.

Already in that toolbox includes safety measures like electronic entryways and security cameras throughout their

Trotter adds that this new state law could also be used as a deterrent.

“It could work as a deterrent, but again we don’t know all the details of what the whole new law explains,” said Trotter.

Prompting Mid Cape Global Academy to work closely over the summer with Cape Coral police.

“There are gray areas and Cape Coral Police Department will help to guide us on that and what we need to do with our SRO and what that new law entails for them,” said Trotter.

As for public schools in Southwest Florida, districts like Lee, Collier, and Charlotte said in individual statements, that their school officers already have the ability to arrest someone on their school’s campus.

The law also provides funds for departments like the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, where Sheriff Carmine Marceno said it will help beef up school safety.

“We are going to have the funds to now help people that have mental illness the other side of that bill is school safety,” said Marceno.

At Mid Cape Global Academy, Trotter said parents always want to know how schools are keeping their children safe, but adds that she doesn’t want this law to give parents the wrong idea.

“Our goal is not to get students arrested its just again another tool in the toolbox, we want to make sure our school is as safe as possible,” said Trotter.

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