FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - It was a tough day for parents all over the country as they dropped of their children at school following a mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas.
School campuses across South Florida saw an increased police presence as parents dropped off their children, Wednesday morning.
“I was this close to not coming today,” said Maria Narvaez, a parent.
“Every day you send your kid to school, you don’t know if they’re going to make it home or not,” said a parent.
Hours later, 7News cameras captured a father as he picked up his child at a school in Fort Lauderdale.
“We gave extra big hugs today,” he said.
When asked if Wednesday’s drop-off felt different, the parent replied, “We were a little more aware of the situation here, and Fort Lauderdale Police had their car up here this morning, so, yeah, I think everybody is aware of what happened. It’s pretty sad.”
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said he received nearly 100 calls and texts Tuesday night from parents asking if it was safe to send their children to school.
“They’re calling me at 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock at night, and it’s not ‘sheriff,’ they say, ‘Greg, I’m worried,'” he said.
Tony reassured them it was safe.
“The moment we start to give in to this fear, give in to this threat, give in to this atrocity and allow it to change our way of life, we are losing not just the day of the incident, but we’re losing every day to follow it,” said Tony.
Since the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there have been changes to school security.
There are armed guards at every campus, single points of entry, metal detectors and random wanding.
“I would say, in Broward County Public Schools, we’ve really done a lot of work since the tragedy,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwight.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jose Dotres said they are also enforcing extensive security measures.
“We all know and we understand that the safety and security of our students is the absolute number one priority,” he said.
“We have cops in schools every single day, bell-to-bell coverage,” said Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez
Even with these precautions in place, it is natural for people to wonder if that is enough.
“In my opinion, the place [schools] should be like the most secure place in the world,” said Narvaez. “Hopefully, someone is going to do something.”
“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I can’t keep my kids home,” said another parent.
Cartwright said that they are offering free counselling services for every family who has a child in the district.
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