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Sarasota school officials head to Tallahassee to talk school safety

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Sarasota County School District staff want to hear your ideas about how the district can better its safety and security following the tragedy in Parkland.

Meanwhile, two representatives from the district are headed to Tallahassee as part of a statewide initiative to better protect our kids in schools.

Sarasota County School District had an emergency School Board executive session Monday. The staff put their heads together to determine what safety measures the district can take to do better.

"We talk in great detail about what our safety plans are," Superintendent Dr. Todd Bowden says. "As much as we want to share those with the community, sometimes the bad guys are listening too, and we don't want them to know what we have in place in case they do want to cause harm."

The district also put a call out to parents and students on Sunday asking for feedback on how to make schools safer. In less than 24 hours, they received 400 responses.

"There's just this element where you can tell people want to be a part of the solution," School Board Chairwoman Bridget Ziegler says.

Ziegler is one of two Sarasota County School District employees selected by Governor Rick Scott to be a part of a statewide task force on school security. She and principal of the year Dr. Rachel Shelley are on their way to Tallahassee for Tuesday's meeting.

"What I'm very optimistic about is it is not just the typical conversations that we hear that are really decisions that are made at the federal level and take longer to move forward," Ziegler says. "What I think is encouraging is local leaders across the state are having these same conversations like we are here in Sarasota County and filtering that to the state. Those are the kinds of things that I think you'll see immediate action."

If you'd like to participate in Sarasota County School's safety and security feedback initiative, e-mail

You can go here for more stories by Jess Doudrick.