BARTOW, Fla. (WTSP) -- Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd made an appeal to the school board Tuesday to consider arming school staff. He was joined by Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed in the school shooting in Parkland.
Judd and Polk County Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to school security.
Judd proposes arming and training school staff, even teachers. He started a program in Polk last year, on which state lawmakers modeled their Guardian Program.
The superintendent, on the other hand, wants more SROs. To have an SRO in every school, she estimates it would cost $5 million annually. Judd's estimate for SROs is even higher.
“You can select, evaluate, drug test, psychologically test and train 32 guardians for the cost of one school resource officer,” Sheriff Judd said.
The state is only giving the district $3.1 million, so either way, it’s not nearly enough.
Pollack told his heart-wrenching story to the school board after the sheriff spoke. His daughter was a senior.
He’s made it his goal to make sure no more kids die in school shootings. He went to Tallahassee to push for the school safety bill. Now, he's encouraging Polk County to consider the Guardian Program to train and arm school staff.
“It happened to me in a nice community, and it can happen to anyone,” he said. “If I could give advice to a school board that would help save a child's life, I thought it would be worth driving up here three hours to tell them about my experience.”
His daughter was on the third floor in Parkland, when coach Aaron Feis protected as many students as he could. Pollack is convinced if he had a gun, he could've protected even more.
“I know he would've put a bullet right in that, right in his head,” Pollack said. “That's what I know as a fact.”
10News reporter Grady Trimble also tried to speak to the superintendent but she declined to answer any questions after the meeting. At least two school board members spoke out against the Guardian Program.
Public comment began after the workshop meeting, at the regularly scheduled board meeting. The board is not expected to make any final decisions Tuesday night. This meeting is likely the start of an ongoing debate.
►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10 News app now.