Armed security guards in school up for debate in East Hampton

East Hampton BOE discusses armed guards at school
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 5:42 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2022 at 12:26 AM EDT
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EAST HAMPTON, CT (WFSB) - It’s been two months since the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX.

That, along with marking nearly 10 years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, has Connecticut school districts considering a need for armed security officers on campuses.

The districts that have approved it for the fall said they believe if it makes the students safer, it needs to be immediately done.

Advocates argue that having armed officers can cut down on response time if there is an emergency.

It’s a decision East Hampton could be closer to making after Monday night, when the district holds a meeting with parents to get their opinion.

Officials in other districts who have voted “no,” questioned if bringing guns into schools in any capacity would be a smart decision.

Referencing what has happened in recent months, particularly in Uvalde and 10 years ago in Newtown, some districts said it was time.

The regional district in Lyme and Old Lyme voted to have its security guards start carrying guns. Montville and Putnam did the same.

In New Milford, the district said it is ready to add three more armed officers to its security squad.

On Monday, parents got a chance to voice their opinions at the Board of Education meeting. The board is thinking about adding three armed security personnel to all of their schools.

“We want our children to be safe and free from any wrong doing in their school day. We want some kind of armed security to be in place to deter these violent acts towards our children,” says Samuel Cruz a parent.

The high school currently has a retired police officer or state trooper on the ground. The superintendent wants to see the samw thing happen in the other three district schools for the younger grades.

“The Uvalde shooting was so violent that people said, and it was once again an elementary school. People felt like we need armed security in more than just one school,” says Paul Smith East Hampton’s Superintendent.

Some parents say they are concerned about who is paying. They say they want to see the money go to mental health resources. If the board approves an armed guard, it will cost about $50,000 per guard. If the board decides to go with a police officer, it’ll cost $100,000.

The board does not have the money to pay for armed security. They will have to ask the town to approve it or try to budget it in next year.

Parents were also given a survey to see how they felt about armed security. The outcome of that survey is not yet known.

There is currently no set deadline on when a decision will be made.

Connecticut school districts continue to consider a need for armed security officers on campuses.