Cadets and staff at Sarasota Military Academy (SMA), a local public charter school, recently recognized Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight and his staff with a special award for the support, training and assistance received following the state’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act legislation.
The law, passed in March of 2018, requires that every public school in Florida have at least one school resource office or armed guardian on each campus. While there are funds earmarked by the state, schools are expected to ensure that the officers are fully funded, and related training is encouraged.
“Securing funds in the budget for charter schools in our community has always been a bit of a challenge as we are held to the same standards as traditional public schools, but we are supported in a variety of ways through grants and the generosity of donors, local businesses and community members,” said SMA Colonel Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director of Schools. “Funding for charter schools was decreased in our county this year, and not only did we have to work to make up the difference for SMA’s budget, but we are also required to provide funding under the new state legislation to ensure law enforcement officers at each of our two school campuses.”
Sheriff Knight and his staff selected School Safety Deputies for each SMA campus and provided the required training as written in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. As a thank you to the SCSO team, cadets and staff at Sarasota Military Academy created the “Champions of School Safety” award and recognized Sheriff Knight and his staff as friends and valuable supporters of SMA.
“We were absolutely thrilled when Sheriff Knight and his team graciously provided training and hand-selected the School Safety Deputies to secure both of our campuses,” said SMA-Col Bowman. “School budgets are already stretched, and having the support of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has been invaluable to our safety, our cadets and staff. We are incredibly grateful for all they have done for us.”
“We always prioritize the safety of our children which means making sure school campuses are safe and vibrant places for young people to learn,” commented Sheriff Tom Knight. “We also understand the challenges that educators face when it comes to training and more importantly, funding. That’s why it has been our privilege to support SMA through this process by providing them with the tools needed for success.”
To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.
About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school and college preparatory academy with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.