Armed law enforcement officers will remain at elementary schools in Pasco County through the week in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, but at least one mother told the school board that's not long enough.
Wendy Seth, who said two of her three children attend Lake Myrtle Elementary, wants the officers to become permanent fixtures on elementary school campuses.
"There is no excuse in this day and age for there not to be a police presence at the elementary level," Seth told the school board Tuesday evening.
Resource officers are assigned to every middle and high school in the county, but that's not the case for elementary schools.
Superintendent Kurt Browning said that the district is "doing everything to ensure the safety of our kids and our staff," but he doesn't envision officers being permanently assigned to elementary schools.
"One of the concerns is the message we send to students and the community when they see a uniformed officer at elementary schools," Browning said. He said the district expects a return to normalcy by the end of this week as schools head into the two-week winter break.
Seth, who said she is a Connecticut native, was not mollified by the superintendent's response. She said she is concerned about copy-cat shooters.
"I am adamant about this, that there needs to be a police presence," she said.
Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, caused the Pasco school district to ratchet up security and heighten awareness at schools this week, Browning said. Other school districts took similar measures.
Pasco school officials worked with Sheriff Chris Nocco and other law enforcement officials over the weekend to prepare for Monday, the first day of school after the shooting.
Earlier in Tuesday evening's school board meeting, school officials said the extra law enforcement presence has been a welcome sight for many parents and staff members.
"We think parents felt more self-assured after the Sandy Hook tragedy," Assistant Superintendent Ray Gadd said.