MILTON, Fla. (WKRG) — School officials in Santa Rosa County are now looking for protectors of students in the classroom. 

The Santa Rosa County School District has listed its first open position for a school guardian. Santa Rosa County guardians will be school employees that will be trained by the sheriff’s office. Guardians will serve as an extra layer of protection to help stop tragedies, like the mass shooting in Texas this week, from happening. Guardians will not replace school resource officers, school officials said Friday.

The guardians will be part of the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, which was established in 2018 through the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. 

About 45 Florida counties are already participating in the program, including Escambia and Okaloosa Counties. 

“We are now at the point for potential implementation,” said Santa Rosa County Director of Safety Daniel Hahn. “The implementation is potential because we don’t know if anyone will apply.” 

Santa Rosa County school officials said they’re hopeful the guardian program will be implemented by this fall. Officials said they are doing their due diligence and looking for the right candidates to keep students safe. 

“Our sheriff believes are schools are safe. We believe our schools are safe,” said Hahn. “We’ve been investigating this for two years as a potential added security measure, but as of today, our schools are just as safe they’ll ever be.” 

It’s unknown at this time how many guardians will be hired in Santa Rosa County or where they will work the part-time position. They will be vetted by the school district and required to complete more than 100 hours of training.

“We’ve decided that our guardian program will be operated in an undisclosed manner,” said Hahn. “Nobody needs to know where they are. Nobody needs to know who they are.” 

School officials said while they work to add more security to schools, they need parents’ help. 

“There are 168 hours in a week. The schools have students in them for 35 hours. The best defense a school has is an actively participating and observant parent. A parent that knows what is on their phone, on their computers, who they’re hanging out with, what’s in their cars, what’s in their backpack, what they’re bringing to school. Parents are the first line of defense, and we’re counting on them.” 

WKRG News 5 will keep you updated on the program’s progress.