Nearly 400 apply for 90 school guardian openings in Polk Co.

- The first round of interviews with candidates for School Safety Guardians began this week at the Polk County Law Enforcement Academy.

There are 90 openings. As of Thursday, 375 people had applied.

Jocelyn Rodriguez is one of them. The 23-year-old got a degree in criminal justice last year.

“When I heard about the guardian program, I was ready to step up and be a part of it,” she told FOX 13.

A district spokeswoman says the applicants ranged from former officers and ex-military to secretaries.

Teams of interviewers grilled applicants for the better part of Thursday. They are looking for people who say they would put others before themselves in a crisis.

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Teddra Porteous asked the candidates: "Are you prepared to give your own life to save and defend our students lives?”

Those chosen as guardians will go through a 3-week training on how to carry and use a gun in case an active shooter shows up on campus.

They will be assigned to the Polk County elementary schools that don't already have a student resource officer.

The guardian program fulfills a requirement handed down by the state after the Parkland shootings. An armed employee must be assigned to every school by this fall.

In Polk County, the job pays $30,000.

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