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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The first class of armed guardians is going through BSO training to protect Broward students and schools.

Today they were at the BSO gun range at Markham Park in Sunrise.

“They are not just average civilians that we just put here,” said Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie. “These are individuals who already have law enforcement background, they already have a military background, they already had corrections background. This is what I’d call refresher training for a lot of these individuals.”

After the Parkland massacre, state law requires every Florida school have armed school resource officers or safety officers on campus.

With a shortage of police officers, armed guardians are the solution.  The district needs 55 guardians.

This first class of 16 will be ready for the first day of school.

That leaves a shortfall of 39. Local officers or deputies will fill the gap temporarily.

“They will work with us on a short-term basis until we can actually get more individuals through the guardian program to provide staffing and support,” said Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Sheriff Israel is also committing more deputies on campus, aside from the ones required.

“45 minutes before school starts and 45 minutes after school concludes,” Israel explained. “Every deputy who’s not working on a case will be at the school meeting people, meeting parents, patrolling, enforcing traffic laws, looking around making sure we’re keeping schools as safe as possible.”

Superintendent Runcie said schools are already in the process of hardening, including getting single point entry and upgraded cameras systems.  Some schools are already completed — the rest should be done by early next year.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, crews are also racing to get portables in place since the building where the shooting happened will be demolished.

“The goal is to have all the portables connected by the end of August,” Runcie said. “Preferably we could have them done by the very start of school we will, but we will have the connected, occupied on the start of school or shortly thereafter.”

Broward Schools continue to accept applications for the guardian program.

Classes begin on August 15th.

Ted Scouten

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