The school board in Enfield, Conn. voted Tuesday night, 5-4, in favor of placing an armed guard in every school.
Many board members said that it wasn't worth taking a risk after the school shooting about an hour's drive away at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last year, where 26 people were killed.
Enfield's new plan will take effect by the start of next school year.
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“I think it would be overboard to have an armed guard here,” Jeffery Haddock, a parent, said. “I don't think they need them here. We've never had problems here.”
Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza disagreed.
“I want to make sure Enfield does everything humanly possible to protect our kids,” Sferrazza said.
The police chief believes that after the shootings in Newtown, Enfield needs to be prepared for the possibility of an active shooter.
“For those people who say it couldn't happen here, we're about 50 miles from Sandy Hook,” he said.
Middle and high schools in Enfield currently have armed school resource officers and they will keep their positions.
The police chief said he would hire 11 extra armed guards, but they would not be sworn policeman.
They would have qualifications and training to carry weapons and Sferrazza said law enforcement could be the best candidates.
“Either we take a stance and do all we can to protect the most precious children or we just sit back and wait for something to happen,” he said.
Sferrazza said the new hires would cost taxpayers more than $600,000 for the first year and the money would come from the town budget.
Some thought the spending was too much.
“I think the town could probably use the money on something else besides that,” Haddock said.
School leaders said they couldn’t put a cost on keeping students safe.
The town council and Board of Education will be holding a security meeting at town hall at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The agenda includes an executive session about matters concerning security strategy or deployment of security personnel or devices affecting public security.
Security strategies will be discussed after the executive session.