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This school year, students are being joined by additional security on campus. The City of North Miami Beach has partnered with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) to place a school resource officer in all schools within the city to increase safety measures. MDCPS already established officers for middle and high schools within the city, but this new plan will have officers in the city’s two elementary schools: Fulford Elementary and Greynolds Park Elementary.
This agreement is part of a plan established by Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho – to have an officer in every school in the county by the start of the 2018-19 academic year. MDCPS has also invested in a program that would hire 100 additional officers to secure remaining schools currently without a school resource officer – including hiring retired officers where needed. After the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the State of Florida has approved a bill to have an armed officer at every school.
"In Miami-Dade, we believe that the best-suited individuals to protect our schools and kids are professional, certified law-enforcement entities,” MDCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at a press conference on July 12. Additionally, he mentioned that the officers would go through a modified school resource officer training in August before the school year began.
Law enforcement is only one side of this protection plan. One side is law enforcement, and the other side is mental health services. Mental health services are “far too often under-recognized, underfunded, underemployed – but that will not be the case in Miami-Dade,” said Superintendent Carvalho. In the days ahead, MDCPS will release public information specific to a master plan for mental health services across the district. A part of this mental health investment, supported by the School Board, will include hiring dozens of mental health professionals and additional school counselors. These services will include issues of school culture, sensitivity training, anti-bullying activities, early recognition of troubled/non-typical behavior. Services are planned to be provided in-school, as well as outside of school through external community partnerships.
“This was literally a no-brainer,” added North Miami Beach Mayor Beth Spiegel. “We were going to have the police officers. We were going to have the school resources that were needed to make certain that the children in our city are safe.”
Superintendent Carvalho noted how this is the type of partnership that MDCPS hope to amplify and replicate to augment across the entire community. It is a collective effort towards the safety of our public schools and kids. The City of North Miami Beach is proud to be a part of this partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Children have always been a priority of North Miami Beach that our children are safe, educated, and well-rounded.
L to R: Sabal Palm Elementary Principal Alicia M. Costa-DeVito, North Regional Superintendent Jose Bueno, Commissioner Fortuna Smukler, Fulford Elementary Principal Dr. Jean E. Gordon, Commissioner Barbara Kramer, MDCPS Deputy Superintendent Valtena G. Brown, Mayor Beth E. Spiegel, NMBPD Chief William Hernandez, MDCPS Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, MDSPD Chief Edwin Lopez, Commissioner Phyllis S. Smith, Interim City Manager Esmond K. Scott, Commissioner Ingrid C. Forbes, and MDSPD Detective Alicia Neal.