Students across the nation heading back to school have found newly hired armed officers stationed in their schools to protect them.
Schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Texas have hired armed resource officers for this upcoming school year to keep students safe.
Additionally, the Gloucester High School in Massachusetts, the Longview School District in Texas, the Lodi School District in New Jersey, and the North Branford Schools in Connecticut hired armed officers for the 2013-14 school year to ensure students’ safety.
Police officers will be stationed at all 12 district schools in South Brunswick, N.J., when the opening bell rings on September 9. Pittsburgh’s North Hills School District recently hired a safety director and is now seeking applicants for a school resource officer position.
Falkville, Ala., found funding for a school resource officer this year through donations. One officer has already been hired in Uniontown, Pa., and a vote will be held this month on hiring a second officer.
The Sedalia School District in Missouri also hired a school resource officer this year for its middle school.
“We are excited to have a resource officer housed at SMS and appreciate the district’s determination to enhance the security for our students, the building, and district as a whole,” principal Sara Pannier said in a statement to the press.
These schools joined numerous other school districts that hired armed officers in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown shooting.
More officials this school year have embraced the hiring of armed officers for students’ safety despite calls by the left for more gun control to prevent further school shootings.
Many of these schools were reluctant to comment on the issue. Over a half dozen school districts were contacted, and none returned phone calls or email requests for comment.
Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, said his organization has seen a measurable increase in requests to train school resource officers since December.
NASRO has trained far more officers this year than the year before.
“We have probably come close to tripling the amount of training since December, by request,” Canady said. Typically, he explained, school districts or police departments request training of law enforcement officers for the school setting.
Additionally, the NASRO’s yearly conference this past July attracted more attendees and exhibitors than in the past several years, according to Canady.
Canady said the effectiveness of school resource officers, who are sworn law enforcement officers and properly selected and trained to work in the school setting, “certainly makes a difference” in terms of deterring armed intruders, stopping violent crimes, and lowering school arrest rates.
A study the group released before Newtown detailed the many benefits of having school resource officers in schools.
One superintendent in Arkansas is attempting to get his teachers armed. The Clarksville School District superintendent David Hopkins is working with legislators to change the law to allow teachers to be armed. He hopes it can occur by the end of October.
Hopkins also did not respond to a request for comment.
Newtown and a recent shooting closer to home have led several schools districts in Georgia to review their security measures.
After an armed intruder gained entry to the McNair Discovery Learning Academy on August 20, the DeKalb County School District began considering all safety options. Options on the table include installing metal detectors, additional training of staff, and hiring more school resource officers, according to Quinn Hudson, director of communications for DeKalb County Schools.
“We’re considering everything,” Hudson said. “We are committed to safety and take it very seriously.”
Hudson said the training of the teachers, staff, and even students at the McNair Discovery Learning Academy helped lead 800 students out of the building to safety and to a nearby staging area to be reunited with their parents.
“What saved the day was the training of the employees, to allow them to respond appropriately,” Hudson said. “Ms. [Antoinette] Tuff engaged the intruder,” he said, while two other teachers started the lockdown.
The DeKalb County School District currently has armed officers in all their high schools and middle schools, Hudson said, and a decision on whether armed officers will be hired for elementary schools is under consideration.
The nearby Gainesville School District is now considering storing rifles at schools. Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said the issue was initially brought up after Newtown but became “more timely” with the shooting at McNair, according to a report in the Gainesville Times.
Dyer did not respond to several requests for comment by the Washington Free Beacon.
Having armed officers in schools to keep students safe isn’t just what many school officials believe. The latest Rasmussen poll conducted last month showed 62 percent of parents said they would feel safer if their child attended a school with an armed guard. That poll was in line with a previous poll by Rasmussen released shortly after the Newtown shooting.