Student Group Invited to Statewide School Safety Meeting

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 8:59am

Members of the Flagler Palm Coast High School Community Problem Solving Group “FPC Bulldog Patrol” have been invited to present their project to the next meeting of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, April 9-10, 2019 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The invitation comes from Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who chairs the commission.

Damien Kelly, who heads Florida’s Office of Safe Schools travelled the state following his appointment to that position to see how security improvements are being handled at each district. His visit to Flagler County in January was the first time he saw students have input into this process. After watching the FPC Bulldog Patrol give their presentation, Mr. Kelly suggested to Sheriff Gualtieri the students and their teacher give their presentation to the full commission, highlighting their innovative ideas.

The group has assembled classroom survival kits with the help of fellow students in FPC’s Fire Leadership Academy, facilitated getting first-aid training for teachers, coordinated with students in the school’s aeronautics program and Air Force JROTC to work on a plan for first responders to use drones to monitor the campus during an emergency, collaborated with members of the school’s television production team to create a safety video, and worked with Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly to have FCSO K-9 units randomly patrol their school.

FPC student Gabrielle Jackson says, “It is an honor to be invited and I hope this will make other students want to do the same and have a voice in their safety.”

Fellow FPC Bulldog Patrol member Sydni Leon adds, “I think it’s absolutely incredible to see how high schoolers are really making a difference in improving our school environment. I am so proud to be a part of a project helping our school enhance our safety, which will hopefully inspire others to follow too.”

Of her students’ project, Diane Tomko says “These students are problem solvers whose passion has enabled them to share their voices in a proactive manner. This is what education does...empowers students to find and use their voices to better humanity.”

Flagler Schools Superintendent James Tager, who will accompany the team to Sunrise next month agrees. “When it comes to campus safety and security plans, we need our students to have a seat at the table. The members of the FPC Bulldog Patrol are proof that if you educate and then empower your students, they will never stop amazing you with their innovation.”

Superintendent Tager will briefly update members of the School Board at this afternoon’s School Board Workshop, and is expected to give a more detailed update at the board’s monthly meeting March 19th.

The FPC Bulldog Patrol is made up of students (freshmen) Nicholas Blumengarten, Abbigail Carver, (sophomores) Sydni Leon, Gabrielle Jackson, (seniors) Katia Martynuk, and William Patin. Diane Tomko is their teacher. Winnie Oden, Safety Consultant with Flagler Schools will also accompany the team.