Pasco County schools, Sheriff's Office, unveil new approach to campus threats
In a change from past practice, Pasco County students and teachers will be taught how to fight back -- rather than simply hide in lockdown mode -- if their schools face an active violent threat such as a shooter.
Sheriff Chris Nocco and superintendent Kurt Browning introduced the new model during a news conference Monday at Fivay High School. The School Board had an hourlong presentation on the approach in May. Teacher and student training will begin after classes resume.
"Times have absolutely changed, and it's sad that in this world we live in we have to do this. But we do," Nocco said. "We are preparing Pasco County for its worst-case scenario, and we pray every day that it will never happen."
Browning stressed that safety is everyone's top priority. And he said the district would not force anyone to act in a way that makes them uncomfortable.
"The decision to defend one's self or others is a personal decision and will never be required," he said.
But the goal is give everyone in the schools added options for responding if they face danger, and to empower staff and children "not to be victims."
As part of the plan, the district created a video, shown below, on how children can deal with "Stranger Danger." One of its key messages: "It is okay to do whatever you have to do to get away from Stranger Danger."
See that video, and the officials' press conference, for more details.