Parkland, FL – The Broward County School District has received 140 applications from citizens who want to become armed guardians in area schools, but only 35 of those applicants have passed the initial screening process, the Sun Sentinel reported.
Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman said he expects that only five of the individuals who passed the initial screening will eventually be qualified enough to be hired.
Florida state law now mandates that at least one armed guardian or police officer be assigned to every school, and the district planned to have at least 80 trained armed guardians on-site at the schools by the time students return to class on Aug. 15.
The position's starting pay is $25,000 per year, and applicants must have at least two years of experience as a “sworn law enforcement officer” or two years of military experience in order to qualify, according to the job posting.
They must also have experience working with teens, are required to pass drug and psychological tests, and must complete 144 hours of firearm safety and diversity training.
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie’s Chief of Staff, Jeff Moquin, said that many of the disqualified applicants had experience as corrections officers, but didn’t meet the district’s requirements for experience as sworn law enforcement officers, the Sun Sentinel reported.
“We’re going to recommended we tweak the job description to cast a bigger net,” Moquin said. “Consideration is being given on whether there is a need to clarify the job description requirements to specifically state experience as a corrections officer meets the minimum qualifications.”
The school board will have the final say on whether the proposed alteration is approved.
On a temporary basis, the Broward Sheriff’s Office has agreed to assign deputies to some of the schools in its jurisdiction. The school district also employs 18 sworn officers, and may hire off-duty officers as well, Moquin said.
“The district is exploring various options to ensure a certified law enforcement officer or guardian is assigned to every school,” he told the Sun Sentinel.