Lee County schools step up security with new attendants

More adults will be roaming the hallways, bathrooms and parking lots in Lee County high schools. The additional layer of security at 11 high schools aims to keep teenagers healthy and safe.

Among the threats facing students is surging tobacco usage, leading to quadruple the number of offenses compared to two years ago.

Along with the school resource officer, a safety and security attendant will be patrolling the halls looking for trouble at these Lee County high schools.

“I never think more security is a bad thing,” said Meg Middaugh, a parent.

Rick Parfitt, the School District of Lee County safety and security director, said the extra set of eyes and ears comes after a school year filled with students vaping and writing threatening messages in the bathroom stalls.

“We’ve taxed the resources of our schools, our school resource officers, our law enforcement agencies,” Parfitt said. “We’ve spent countless hours in investigation in these types of incidents and we’re hoping this is a type of deterrent.”

Two years ago, the district tallied 150 tobacco offenses. So far this school year, there has been 660.

One parent was shocked by the numbers.

“Wow!” Middaugh said. “That’s significant. That’s definitely significant.”

While the bathroom stalls are an easy spot for sneaking around, the School District of Lee County said the safety and security attendants would be monitoring over the entire high school campus.

It is an idea that at least one grandparent is behind.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, a grandparent. “I think they should be in all the schools.”

Reporter:Taylor Petras
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