‘Please keep them protected’: Duval students kick off first day, parents talk school safety measures

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As Duval County students are back to learning in the classroom, safety is a top priority for the district and families.

After the tragedy in Uvalde and other violence across the nation, parents want to know if their child will be protected.

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Antonio Bright dropped off his children, who are in kindergarten and first grade, Monday morning.

“They were already up and had the school clothes on waking us up telling us it’s time for school,” Bright said. “It’s time to go to school.”

He said he hopes his children have a successful and safe school year.

“Just making sure they follow the protocols that’s supposed to already be established for the protection of our kids,” Bright said.

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Action News Jax spoke with Sanaa McBride, the principal at Biscayne Elementary Leadership Academy.

“It’s going to be a fun and engaging time, so come on back and we are going to welcome you in with love,” McBride said.

She said school staff members are fully prepared when it comes to school safety.

“We’ve all been trained, our faculty and staff, in all of our procedures on what to do in case of an emergency,” McBride said. “They can know that their students are safe at Biscayne Elementary Leadership Academy.”

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DCPS police chief Greg Burton said every DCPS school has an armed police officer or safe school officer. Staff are also required to conduct monthly lockdown, active shooter and emergency drills.

Just two months ago, a partnership began between DCPS and the City of Jacksonville, devoted to bringing in the company Armoured One to enhance school safety.

There is also a new safety app that DCPS is using, and all teachers are required to have it on them in case of an emergency.

“I hope they’re safe and in a safe environment,” said DCPS parent Myron Jackson.

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Kamari started third grade today at Biscayne Elementary Leadership Academy.

“I really like playing with my friends every day and every time,” said Kamari, a third grade student.

He had a few words of wisdom to his fellow students who may be feeling the nerves.

“I just want to say to them fun stuff, and they’ll probably feel happy.”

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This year, the district has more than 18,000 cameras at high schools and thousands more at middle and elementary schools to monitor what is going on through a live feed.

“Please, please, please, please keep them protected,” Bright said.

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