Local school security expert talks Sandy Hook and keeping our kids safe

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Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 9:51 pm | Updated: 10:58 pm, Sat Mar 16, 2013.

VENICE-- Curt Lavarello has made a career out of keeping kids safe at school. That's why it upset him so much to learn about the tragedy in Newtown.

"I think I probably shed more tears thinking about those innocent children and the terrible incident in Connecticut then I ever have," Lavarello said.

Lavarello is the Executive Director of the School Safety Advocacy Council. The Venice resident travels around the country, speaking to law enforcement and school officials.

He usually tells those folks the first step toward keeping students safe is to realize that any school, no matter the location, can be a target.

"Schools have to realize, it could be the most rural of schools, as in the Amish school in Pennsylvania. We have to change that mindset," Lavarello said.

He mentions there are some with the mindset now that allowing principals and teachers to have guns on campus would be a good thing. Lavarello disagrees.

"Bringing more guns to a gun fight doesn't usually reduce violence. It adds to it. We can do a lot more before we entertain such things as that," said Lavarello.

Things like providing faculty with training in case there is ever an incident at school, as well as making sure faculty can communicate with students about issues they may be dealing with outside of school.

"Whether its a coach, a teacher, a guidance counselor or a school resource officer, that communication has to be there," Lavarello said.

Lavarello says he is impressed by what the school district's on the Suncoast have been able to accomplish with security, even with budget cuts. However, he says like most school districts around the country, there is always room for improvement.

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