JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As students went back to school from holiday break, a new policy is in place at Duval County elementary schools.
Malissa Norman lives across the street from Windy Hill Elementary. With two grandchildren, a kindergartner and fourth-grader, the tragedy at Newtown, Conn., struck close to home.
"It made me stop and think we need more protection for them," said Norman.
The Duval County school district is beefing up security at elementary schools. Every secondary school in Duval County is equipped with a school police officer. Now, those same officers will visit all 104 elementary schools daily. The officers won't be there permanently throughout the day, but will make a point to stop by and check in on the schools each afternoon.
District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says the point is to make police presence known. But his team is also focusing on preventing a tragedy with more staff training.
"We have to become more proactive with identifying flags that group with certain student behavior or be more vigilante regarding visitors coming to the school, not properly checking in," said Vitti. "Those are some of the procedures we are working on and certainly going to advance."
While Norman is happy to see some changes in school security, she says a more permanent police presence is needed to protect our youngest students from another Newtown tragedy. "I think they need to be there the entire time school is open everyday. They need someone patrolling the school."
The school district currently employs about 75 trained police officers.
Vitti says he and a number of other superintendents from across the state recently sent a letter to the legislature petitioning for more funding for security funding for elementary schools. If more funding is available, Vitti says the district will look into providing a school resource officer at elementary schools across the county.