School Boards Rethink Security in Wake of Shooting

School boards across the country are re-thinking security in the wake of this weeks shooting and suicide in Panama City.

Many school boards in our area got the news *during* their meetings Tuesday night and some have already taken steps to beef up security.

The camera continued to roll as Clay Duke spray painted a red V on the wall and proceeded to open fire on the Panama City School Board.

Leon County School Board Member Dee Dee Rasmussen says she got a text right before their meeting Tuesday night and still has a hard time believing it.

"We're very thankful that it didn't turn out to be even more tragic. I think it certainly could have gotten out of hand," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen says districts have spent a lot of energy and money on security for the schools themselves, but she says she never really thought about her own safety at school board meetings.

There is an armed policeman or sheriff's deputy at every Leon County School Board meeting and the district's security chief says they're considering some upgrades.

Gadsden County's Superintendent says the board there was also meeting Tuesday night as that shooting unfolded in Panama City. In this age of budget cutting, the superintendent said the reason Clay Duke opened fire wasn't lost on anyone: his wife had been fired from her teaching job.

"You never know how people will respond. I thought that was a very unusual response, but you know, for precautious reasons from this point forward, we're going to have an officer inside all of our board meetings and a marked patrol car outside," said Gadsen Superintendent Reginald James.

Jefferson County School Board members have sporadically asked for security depending what's on the agenda, but now the superintendent says that'll be routine.

An angry citizen at their meeting this week got them thinking about it, and now it's a done deal, he said.

Wakulla School Superintendent David Miller says he will decide on security measures there by the next school board meeting in January.

"I think it's kind of a sad state of affairs when we've got to put, as the Huntsfield superintendent said, the TSA body scanners or whatever in place to get into public meetings," Miller said.

With the exception of Leon County, none of the other school districts we talked with today had *any* regular security at school board meetings before this and none said they were planning to install metal detectors because of this shooting either.


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