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Florida school board meeting hostage situation hits home in Waco

POSTED: Friday, December 17, 2010 - 3:15pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:53am

WACO -- A shooting this week in Florida left one man dead after taking school board members hostage at a meeting. It's something that hit home for school districts in Waco.

The hostage situation at a Florida school board meeting ends with the gunman taking his own life. A situation that now weighs heavy on Waco ISD police officers' minds.

"My reaction to the shooting was dismay and disbelief. What I did after that is I reflected on what we do as police officers to keep our board safe," said Waco ISD Police Chief, Gil Miller.

Clay Duke was upset his wife had been laid off from the Florida school district.

He walked into the meeting, holding the board members hostage before turning the gun on himself.

Chief Miller says where Florida seems to have went wrong is the man's ability to come in to the meeting, but that won't happen at Waco board meetings. Officers liken their system to those at airports.

On a normal school board meeting night, people will walk through a metal detector, and if it goes off, they'll have to empty their pockets before they enter the meeting room.

Two officers are at each meeting, one outside the doors, and one inside the room while security cameras roll throughout the meeting.

Administrators also review the agendas before hand to prepare for any controversial issues that might be discussed. Something Waco ISD says they pay close attention to since the Florida shooting.

"You never know what sort of reaction a parent or an employee might have in a negative situation, and you hope they don't go to an extreme. But, it makes you think about what you can do to keep the day to day operations safer as well was meetings," said Waco ISD Public Information Officer, Dale Caffey.

Chief Miller was unable to identify all the security measures for fear of giving out too much information, but says Waco ISD has had most of the security procedures for years. They are now beefing up their security measures to prepare for the worst.

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