Wake school board delays decision on guards

01/23/2013 9:39 PM

01/23/2013 9:40 PM

The Wake County school board has delayed a decision on putting unarmed security guards in elementary schools.

Placing guards in each elementary school has been proposed after the school shooting in Connecticut that killed 20 students and six adult staff members.

The board delayed the vote Tuesday on the plan to spend $835,000 to put unarmed guards in the 105 elementary schools for the rest of the year. Armed guards are in all middle schools and high schools in Wake County.

A few elementary schools in the county already have unarmed, private security guards.

Some at Tuesday’s meeting in Cary said putting guards in elementary schools would create what they called “a police state.” Others said it would be a waste of money to put guards in the schools unless they are armed.

Adam Haller of Raleigh has three students in elementary school and said the school system should spend the money on areas such as helping students improve reading skills.

“We can’t live in fear,” Haller said. “I’m not afraid. We don’t live in fear in my family.”

“I’m all about having security officers, but they need to be armed,” said Phil Matthews, vice chairman of the Wake County Commission. “I can’t see where an unarmed security officer is going to be able to protect any child.”

School district safety director Russ Smith said it would take between $7 million and $8.5 million to put an armed school resource officer in every elementary school. Smith said it also would take up to a year to hire the law enforcement officers.

Putting unarmed guards in the school would cost less than $2.5 million. A private security company could have unarmed guards in the schools by March 1.

County Commission Chairman Joe Bryan plans to talk with school board Chairman Keith Sutton about security for the elementary schools..

No date for a vote has been set.

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