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GUARDIAN PROGRAM RECOGNIZED

August 11, 2021

Did you know since the 2018-19 school year Putnam County Schools have had anonymous protectors in the schools called Guardians?

Following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, Sheriff Gator DeLoach and Superintendent of Schools Rick Surrency began a plan to arm school employees on campuses as additional safety for students and staff. Residents were vocal on both sides, but ultimately the Guardian program prevailed and is showing to be an overwhelming success in safeguarding our schools and supplementing our youth resource deputies.

Recently, Sheriff DeLoach and Superintendent Surrency presented the Guardian program at a National School Safety conference.

Guardians undergo a long selection process including mental health evaluations, more instructional hours than required by the state, physical evaluations, live shooting simulations and more. In the three years since the program began Guardians have provided insight in situational awareness and helping further harden our schools. Guardians were also instrumental in several school lockdowns in which students were found with weapons on campus, all while maintaining their anonymity. In these cases students were never in danger and classes resumed as normal.

Currently we have 60 Guardians in Putnam County schools who serve as a force multiplier for our deputies in stopping threats to our children.

Our deputies and Guardians take their mission to protecting the schools seriously and would engage any threat willingly and without hesitancy. We are ready and prepared for the upcoming school year.

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