A proposed school security program in Enfield, Conn., is becoming a source of contention among town officials, parents and residents. While most people agree that school security is necessary, the debate is centering around whether or not armed security officers should be present at schools.
Opponents of the program question its cost and effectiveness. Meanwhile, school security officers and supporters of the program say, “There is no price too high for the safety of a child,” the Journal Enquirer reported.
In 2013 armed security officers were placed in all Enfield public schools, as well as St. Martha School, St. Bernard School, and the Enfield Montessori School, which has served as a source of comfort for many parents.
“After the tragedy at Newton, I dropped my daughter off at school wondering what was going to happen to her. … Now I feel so happy that they have security there for my kids,” James Smith, a parent, told the Journal Inquirer.
Another Enfield resident read the definition of the word pragmatism as part of his argument that the town can’t afford to spend almost $1 million each year on school security officers.
The joint Town Council-Board of Education Security Committee, which was formed after the Newtown massacre, recommended the armed security program. The program will cost the town about $795,000 for the second year. The budget covers 23 guards who are part-time employees who make $26 an hour and receive no benefits.
The council and the school board have set May 1 as the deadline for a decision on renewal of the armed security program.