East Hampton

East Hampton School Board Agrees to Add More Armed Security

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East Hampton is moving ahead with adding armed security to all of its schools.

“I am absolutely in support of it,” said Kim Fentress of East Hampton.

Right now, there’s just an armed guard at the high school. But covering the cost of the expanded program still needs to be worked out.

“I would love to see somebody that has the training, the knowledge, the understanding of what to do in those environments and situations and to be frontline and present and ready to respond if need be,” said Danielle Seretny of East Hampton.

On Monday, the school board unanimously agreed to move ahead with a plan to put in place armed guards at two elementary schools, Memorial and Center, as well as at the middle school.

Among the folks who showed up, there was pretty widespread agreement about the importance of school security and mental health resources. And we’re told the idea of arming staff came up following the massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

Parents pointed out East Hampton High already has armed security.

“One of my daughters just graduated. The other is a sophomore. They feel safe. They have a great relationship with him and it’s made me feel more secure as well,” Fentress said.

During the meeting, the superintendent presented a survey that found 81% of parents and 73% of staff supported the idea. A few community members pushed back.

“Research suggests the presence of SRO or guards is not necessarily prevent violence. However just about all research suggests early intervention is the key to preventing school shootings,” said Matt Engelhardt of East Hampton.

Recently, other school districts – including Killingly and Lyme-Old Lyme – have voted to go ahead with armed security.

Now, East Hampton is preparing to add three guards, which will cost $150,000.

“As soon as the money is in place, we will start hiring,” said Paul Smith, East Hampton Schools superintendent.

The school budget has already been passed. That’s why the district will now see if the town will cover the extra cost.

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