Connecticut School Districts Weigh Armed Security Guards in Schools

Parents and school district officials in Connecticut are considering hiring armed security guards in schools in the wake of the recent shooting massacre of 21 children and staff in Uvalde, Texas.

“We are proposing, due to our concerns over police response time, and I don’t say that as a fault to the police, that’s simply just a matter of reality that the police can’t get to a school immediately,” said Ian Neviaser, superintendent of Regional School District 18, Lyme-Old Lyme.

“If you look at any of these school shootings or any mass shooting, and we have been to a number of workshops studying this over the years, these things really last for only a few minutes,” he said.

The regional district’s board of education will vote June 15 on the issue of arming the current guards they have or having them remain without weapons, Fox61 News reported.

According to the report, Neviaser said the presence of armed guards in the schools would deter potential shooters, and stop an active threat quickly.

He added that, anticipating the proposal to have armed guards at the elementary school is approved, they are working with the police academy to obtain training for the guards.

“The reason why we want to do this in June is because there are a number of steps that we need to take if this is approved to make sure that our security people have all the requirements in place for the state of Connecticut by the time school opens again late August,” he said. “They will need to have gun permits through the state.”

Old Lyme parent of two Joseph Dagata supports armed security guards in schools.

“I feel that almost like a police presence, an armed security guard would be more of a deterrent for anyone even thinking about doing harm,” he said. “I have no concerns if a trained professional, somebody with their license and everything else, who’s certified. I’m fine with it.”

Heightened discussions about armed security guards in schools in Connecticut come as a CBS News/YouGov poll released last week found 75 percent of parents of school-aged children want “armed security guards or police in school,” while 82 percent want schools to conduct “practice lockdowns and active shooter drills,” and 56 percent want to “allow teachers and school officials to carry guns.”

Similar discussions are occurring in other school districts throughout Connecticut.

Marlborough Board of Education chairman Wes Skorski and schools Superintendent Holly Hageman have expressed their support for an armed guard at Marlborough Elementary School to the town’s Board of Selectmen, reported the local Rivereast News Bulletin Friday.

“Many residents wrote letters to the same effect, and several more voiced their support in Tuesday night’s selectmen’s meeting,” the report noted.

Liz Gianelle, a member of the Marlborough board of education, called for an armed officer at the elementary school.

“In my opinion this should’ve been immediately implemented after Sandy Hook in 2012,” Gianelle said, referring to the shooting. “We should act on this request immediately and not drag our feet.”

Gianelle added the costs to taxpayers could be only $36 annually if an officer is paid $100,000 per year.

Marlborough First Selectman Greg Lowrey said while town constables maintain a presence at the elementary school, none are assigned full-time.

He added that, if the plan is approved and the details of how an armed guard is paid are worked out, such an officer could be serving the school on its opening day in the fall.

Marlborough resident Mark Merritt also said a fully dedicated armed security guard is “the only option as pure evil continues to seep through the cracks,” according to the report.

Fox61 reported as well school districts of New Milford and Regional School District 16, Prospect-Beacon Falls, are both planning to hire three armed school security officers, while Regional School District 15, Middlebury-Southbury, will hire one armed guard.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo” School Security” by Arlington County. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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