PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission says Palm Beach County school officials are turning to a Boca Raton private firm to train school security guards.
“I fail to see the reason why they want to do that other than they want to argue about the law and ambiguity and doesn’t make any sense,” says Bob Gualtieri, the commission chairman and Pinellas County sheriff. Gualtieri says Palm Beach County is training the guards privately for charter schools and bypassing the new state law requiring guardian training by county sheriff offices. “I find it completely appalling that a district would farm out this work,” says State Sen. Lauren Book who is a commission member.
“If someone trained those folks at a private company and put them on campus with a gun, I'd go arrest them,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd who is also on the commission. Commission members also questioned the expense of $3,000 to train each security guard and not take advantage of state money set aside for training by the sheriff.
“Why would you spend $3,000 a person for private guardian training when there’s $52 million sitting at department of education that is there for this purpose?” Gualtieri says. Gualtieri says he has spoken to Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who assures him security will be covered at the charter schools as Bradshaw checks into whether the private training meets state guardian standards.