Editor's note: School begins Wednesday for Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin county students. TCPalm is providing a series of back-to-school articles to help parents and students get ready for the 2022-23 school year.
Active-shooter and other "scenario-based" drills will be practiced on Treasure Coast school campuses this year, as part of a new law requiring extra training at schools.
Law enforcement presence on campus, in the form of school resource officers, continues, including at the elementary level.
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Here's what parents need to know about school safety when students return to school Wednesday:
New school-safety law
Crisis-intervention and additional training is required for all school resources officers as part of a new law passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Each district must create a plan to reunite families after a school evacuation and emergency situation. At least 80% of a school's faculty must be trained in youth mental-health awareness.
The law also allows school resource officers to make arrests on charter school campuses.
Since the 2019 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the state has increased school-safety measures, including requiring a resource officer at every school.
How many school resource officers?
At least one school resource officer — law enforcement officers and deputies who receive additional training — will be assigned to each school. In Indian River County, Sebastian and Vero Beach high schools each has three officers assigned, district spokesperson Cristen Maddux said in an email.
Indian River County schools also hired 26 security monitors, assigned to middle and high schools, Maddux said.
Student codes of conduct
Rules regarding student behavior and dress codes are found in each district's student code of conduct. The code of conduct, updated annually, outlines consequences for violations. Each district's code of conduct is posted on its website. Indian River County's is found here; Martin County School District's is here; and St. Lucie County Public Schools posts its code here.
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Can I eat lunch with my student at school?
All three Treasure Coast school districts use security systems that check visitors against a database of sexual offenders. All visitors must check in through the main office and present photo identification.
In Martin County, parents are permitted to be on campus during sanctioned events, such as meet-the-teacher programs, curriculum nights and performances, district spokesperson Jennifer DeShazo said in an email. Parents who are registered volunteers may be allowed in classrooms and the school media centers, she said.
In Indian River County, individual principals determine policy on visitors, including whether parents can each lunch with students, Maddux said.
Colleen Wixon is the TCPalm education reporter. Contact her at Colleen.Wixon@TCPalm.com or 772-978-2235.
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: School safety in 2022: How safe is my child’s school?