Duval County

This Week in the 904: Duval School Board Chair on district’s ‘innovative’ approach to school safety

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — This week, we told you about two Duval schools with heightened security screenings after three students reportedly stole guns from a nearby home.

Safety is a top priority for parents. It is why we report on any lockdowns on local campuses.


On the latest episode of This Week in the 904, Duval School Board Chair Darryl Willie told Action News Jax’s John Bachman that security is a top priority for the district too.

“This hits close to home. I mentioned before, I have three daughters who are in our public schools. My main thing is I want them to go to school every day and come back safe, and I know our families want that same thing,” Willie said.

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During the episode, Willie addressed several recent cases of threats of violence at or around Duval schools and how the district is always looking to be innovative in protecting students.

“Anything from policies to make sure that we’re hardening the outsides of campuses or making sure there’s policies around locked doors, or even creating putting a vav system, which is our sort of weapons detection system in our schools. And even this like being innovative. So we have the only gun detection dog in all of the state of Florida in a school district,” Willie said.

Bachman asked, “You know, there’s this debate, do we want to make these schools, jails and safe, or do we want to make them not jails but less safe?”

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Willie responded, “I think you go up to our schools, and they don’t look like jails, but it’s hard to get in as they should be. There should be a double barrier to be able to get in and no one that shouldn’t be in should be able to gain access to a school. So I think there’s there’s a healthy balance. And there’s a way to sort of make the school look appealing, while still having the safety measures. That’s why we also have video cameras that we put in place in a lot of our schools where you can kind of see all of the perimeter.”

You can watch Bachman’s full interview with Willie on This Week in the 904 on Sunday morning. The show airs on CBS47 at 4:30 a.m. and then again at 6:30 a.m. The show also airs on FOX30 at 10 a.m.

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