Thea Digiammerino

Region 10 School District to Arm Security Guards Next Year

The Region 10 school district will arm security guards next year, according to a letter sent to parents Wednesday.

The move is one of several steps meant to enhance safety and security in the district, which is made up of students from Burlington and Harwinton.

The measures were agreed upon by the Board of Education with input from Connecticut State Police, the Burlington Police Department, selectmen, board and town attorneys, insurance carriers and other law enforcement experts. The measures are being put in place to have staff prepared in the event of an active shooter situation.

According to the letter, the Region 10 security staff will all be armed. Over the summer, the staff will be retrained and licensed. The security team is made up of retired police officers.

The school resource officer, who is also a retired Thomaston police chief will supervise and train the team.

"Initially I was concerned because anytime you have guns in schools, it's scary," said parent Melanie Mills.

Mills told NBC Connecticut that after attending Monday night's Board of Education meeting, she believes the steps the district is taking will make their schools safer. She also believes it's important to discuss the changes with her kids.

"Once we talked about it and they learned a little bit more. I think it depends how it's introduced to everybody, but I have confidence they'll do a good job," she said.

The district is also planning to train volunteer staff in first aid using the nationally recognized “Stop the Bleed” program, and has several operational and communications initiatives in the works.

Schools will also offer a social curriculum for students.

“In addition to securing our facilities, Regional School District 10 is also committed to a positive school climate and increased social and emotional supports for students and families. Both elementary schools have enhanced their social curriculum for grades PreK-4, a guidance counselor has been added to Grade 5 to begin this Fall, and a comprehensive focus on social and emotional well-being that addresses mental health is being planned for our PreK-12 staff. These improvements to our curriculum and learning environments will include staff training, programs for students, and improved connectedness in all of our schools,” the letter explained.

The Board of Education also plans to establish a Safety and Security Board of Education Committee.

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