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Wednesday November 26th 2014

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How safe are your kids at school? We don’t know

Security-camera
We asked the Escambia Public School District what schools have surveillance cameras and what schools have access control. We know that some do, but not all the schools.

The school district refused to release the information.

Dear Mr. Outzen:

I have reviewed your public record request #272, in which you ask for “list of schools in the district with security cameras and a list of the schools with access control.” Please be advised that §119.071(3)(a)2, F.S. (2012) provides that:

A security system plan or portion thereof for:
a. Any property owned by or leased to the state or any of its political subdivisions; or
b. Any privately owned or leased property
held by an agency is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.

The following definition is provided in §119.071(3)(a)1:

As used in this paragraph, the term “security system plan” includes all:
a. Records, information, photographs, audio and visual presentations, schematic diagrams, surveys, recommendations, or consultations or portions thereof relating directly to the physical security of the facility or revealing security systems;
b. Threat assessments conducted by any agency or any private entity;
c. Threat response plans;
d. Emergency evacuation plans;
e. Sheltering arrangements; or
f. Manuals for security personnel, emergency equipment, or security training.
2. A security system plan or portion thereof for:
a. Any property owned by or leased to the state or any of its political subdivisions; or
b. Any privately owned or leased property

As the requested information relates directly to the physical security of the facility and would reveal security systems, the information is exempt from public record disclosure.

Please see Florida Government in the Sunshine Manual, 2012 Edition, Volume 34 at p. 139 et seq. (available online at http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/KGRG-8RAQUF/$file/2012-SunshineManual.pdf)

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Donna Sessions Waters
General Counsel
Escambia County School Board

If all schools had cameras and access control, then the district would be telling all us about it. The fact that officials don’t want to tell the public about those schools lacking some of the most fundamental security measures is troubling. How safe are the students? Particularly in the elementary schools that don’t have resource officers.

We have asked the district to give us the number of schools with cameras and access control. Ms. Waters has yet to respond.