• Action News Jax investigates campus safety at Clay County charter schools

    By: Elizabeth Pace


    CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - In the latest Clay County School Board meeting, board members voiced parents concerns about security at their children's charter schools. 

    Board member for District 5, Ashley Gilhousen said, "Allow the superintendent the latitude to secure a resource officer for the charter schools as he sees in the best interest of the children on that campus."

    Action News Jax reached out to Superintendent Addison Davis to learn his thoughts on security for charter schools and waiting to hear back. 


    Three are currently three charter schools in Clay County: Clay Charter Academy in Middleburg, St. John's Classical Academy in Fleming Island, and the virtual schools Florida Cyber Charter Academy. 

    SJCA uses the state required safety plan and protocols with a guard program. A spokesperson said those documents are confidential for the safety of their scholars. 

    SJCA told Action News Jax it would like to be a part of the campuses covered by the Clay County School District. They are currently reviewing a path forward with the help of Superintendent Addison Davis.

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    Under the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act,  St. John's Classical Academy uses a guardian program. A school representative would not go into detail with this program for security reasons. 

    SJCA has approximately $3,000 allocated for safety resources each month. 

    Clay Charter use Florida Highway Patrol troopers to protect their campus. 

    "Any time that the school is in session and schools are on campus we will have a law enforcement officer here," FHP Master Sergeant Dylan Bryan said. "That satisfies the requirement mandated by the governor to have a law enforcement personnel, armed security, at each of these schools."

    In response to an Action News Jax request on security measures, an APR spokesperson, Colleen Reynolds sent this response:

    "Clay Charter Academy's highest priority is the safety of our students and staff.  We have very strict protocols in place to provide the highest level of security possible. While we do not discuss specific protocols in order to maintain our security, we can say that we have state-of-the-art surveillance, visitor screening and double-door single-entry into our school.  We conduct regular drills and training with staff, volunteer parents, and students for a variety of emergency situations. We are in full-compliance with the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Act and an active state law enforcement officer with full authority is on campus daily."

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