Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Key Largo PTA raising money for security cameras

KEY LARGO -- Katie Hernandez has two children that attend Key Largo School -- one in kindergarten, the other in seventh grade -- and she wants both of them to be safer.

As vice president of the school's Parent Teacher Association, Hernandez is soliciting sponsorships for the group's annual carnival that this year will earmark proceeds for a camera security system to be installed inside the school.

"We want to know who is coming on and off campus," she said.

This effort comes weeks after the deadliest school shooting in the nation's history at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman broke into the school and murdered 20 children and six teachers.

Hernandez said the PTA was advised by the school's resource officers before the tragedy to consider adding the security cameras. Sandy Hook has focused their attention on doing just that.

"We're on a mission," Hernandez said. "It's a big mission."

The cameras, which could be tied directly into the local police and fire departments, would be near the entrance of the school as well in stairwells and around the campus. Depending on funding, the group might one day be able to consider installing cameras in classrooms, Hernandez said.

PTA members hope the security would deter potential intruders and also help with theft on campus.

"I'd like to think it would scare them off," Hernandez said.

Hernandez said adding armed security personnel to the grounds, which the NRA proposed for the nation's schools after the Sandy Hook tragedy, wasn't something the group seriously considered.

"It would be like a jail and make the children feel unsafe," she said.

Hernandez said the staff at the school is open to the security camera idea, and so far, the PTA has received no negative feedback from parents, teachers or students.

Phone messages from the Free Press seeking comment from KLS Principal Julia Hoar were not returned.

The carnival, which will be Feb. 9, will feature rides, games, food, balloons, baked goods, face painting and more. Sponsorships for the event have been broken into four categories, ranging from $250, which includes public acknowledgement, to $5,000 or more, which comes with a plaque and a spot at the security system ribbon-cutting, among other things.

So far, the PTA has raised almost $2,000. The fundraiser will continue until the goal is met, Hernandez said.

Anyone interested in donating may contact PTA President Luisa Barreto at (786) 975-7085 or Hernandez at (786) 250-7985.

jgore@keysnews.com

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