Should armed guards be placed at elementary and middle schools? That’s the question parents in East Hampton weighed in on.
School officials say they started hearing interest from parents after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“We are unfortunately in a time where we need this,” said one parent.
“The data shows that armed security officers are not what prevent school shootings,” said another parent.
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East Hampton parents gave their thoughts Monday night to the Board of Education regarding a proposal to add armed security to Memorial Elementary, Center Elementary and the middle school. East Hampton High School already has an armed security officer.
“Any event is going to raise people’s attention. We’re re-looking at all our plans. We’re re-training all our teachers this fall when they come back,” Smith said.
At the special meeting, nothing was decided as the BOE listened to parents. People who supported the plan said armed security could be a deterrent or could help minimize the damage during an active shooter situation.
“They definitely can get there faster if they’re in the building than somebody who has to drive to get there from wherever they are,” said one parent.
Those against the proposal questioned the effectiveness of armed security guards to stop recent school shootings and wondered where the estimated $150,000 would come from to pay for it.
“Every year in the five years I’ve lived here, it is a constant battle to get funding for even the basic resources that we already need for our BOE to just function as a school,” said a parent.
“Right now because our budget was passed after Uvalde, there’s not a funding source for this at this time. It would require an appropriation from the town to supplement the budget, or if that’s not feasible, we would put it in the budget for September ‘23,” Smith said.
Parents on both sides discussed the importance of mental health services. The majority of people who spoke supported bringing armed security to the three schools with one parent saying they should hear from the kids.
This week, the board is also sending out a survey to parents which will ask what school their child attends and if they want armed security. School officials said the results will be shared with the public.