A Kentucky school district that passed a resolution earlier this year to arm teachers and staff with concealed guns has scrapped that plan.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the Pike County School Board has instead decided to have uniformed deputies from the Pike County Sheriff’s Office patrol each of the county’s five high schools when the school year begins.
The district has also installed security cameras and buzzers at entrances to each school while it pursues grants to pay for additional security measures.
In February, board members preliminarily approved a program to train and arm school employees with concealed firearms.
“That decision, when we passed it that night … wasn’t an easy one,” School Board Chairman Justin Maynard says. “The solution we have with the sheriff right now, it is a much more favorable situation.”
Maynard says the school board pursued the idea of arming teachers because the district couldn’t afford to pay law enforcement officers to patrol the schools.
Soon after officials passed the proposal, though, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office placed deputies in some schools. The sheriff’s office has since offered to keep those deputies where they are for the foreseeable future at no cost to the district.
“Before we even got off the ground, the sheriff’s department decided to put the deputies in the schools, so that sort of solved the problem,” says Pike County Schools Superintendent Reed Adkins. “I think we’ve really, really come a long way since the initial discussion.”
Eventually, the district hopes to help pay the sheriff’s office for the cost of those deputies, Adkins says.
Meanwhile, the district has purchased security technology through donations from local businesses and individuals.
Lynn Cross, chief deputy of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, says the deputies who patrol schools will take specialized courses on school safety through Kentucky’s Department of Criminal Justice Training.
“Arming the teachers — some like the idea, some don’t like the idea. This way you put the guns with the professionals,” Cross says. “I think this is a better option.”