PLANT CITY (FOX 13) - It's back to school for thousands of bay area kids, which means new school supplies, teachers, bus routes, and security measures - required by state law.
Students and parents will see the difference.
The first day back to class brings a new reality: Armed law enforcement on every school campus, including elementary schools.
“We’ve always had that presence on our middle schools and high schools, but this year we have it through our elementary schools," said Jeff Eakins, Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent.
A new state law, passed by the legislature after the Parkland shootings, requires armed officers at every school along with a number of other safety improvements.
“There’s going to be some tighter security measures for entry and exit onto our campuses. Various checks and measures we’re taking throughout the day to ensure the perimeter of our schools are secure,” Eakins said.
Plant City Police Chief Ed Duncan says the school district worked closely with local law enforcement. He's confident schools are safer, but he still has a major concern.
“Somebody has information and they do not provide it to us," the chief said. "After it happens, people say, 'We thought something was off. We didn’t think the individual was acting properly.' After the fact is not helping.”
Chief Duncan stressed the importance of communication.
"Hillsborough County Schools has done a great job of communicating, both via e-mail and text," father of three, Travis Pelleymounter told FOX 13. "The principal here does an amazing job communicating, so I feel very safe having our children here."