Raleigh, N.C. — The Wake County Board of Education is expected to vote Tuesday on a proposal to put one unarmed security guard at each elementary school in the district.
If approved, the measure would cost $835,000 for three months or nearly $2.4 million for a year for a contract with AlliedBarton Security Services. The company already provides security for some of the schools in the district.
Board Chairman Keith Sutton said the recommendation comes after a review of the district’s security policy in the wake of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six staff members lost their lives.
"We reviewed our practices and looked at security at several of our schools," he said. "We were particularly concerned after our review at some of the elementary schools."
Most of the high schools and some middle schools in Wake County have school resource officers who are armed.
Wake elementary schools don't have guards, but many keep doors locked to funnel visitors through one front door.
“You have to go in the front, and they have a glass partition where you see the secretary at the front desk, and she buzzes to let you in,” Parent Margaret Kline said about her child’s school.
But other parents say there are schools with a more open approach.
“You can walk right in at any point in the day,” Tara Kramling said about her child’s school.
Kline also has a child in a middle school that has an armed guard. She said the security policy took some getting used to.
“Once you’re used to it, it’s comforting,” she said. “I don’t think I’d be opposed to it simply because it’s one more layer of security.”
Kramling also said she thinks the extra security is a good idea. But she isn’t too worried about safety because she thinks Sandy Hook was an isolated incident.
“It was a tragedy in and of itself, but I don’t think it indicates a big, huge problem that every school should be on lockdown all the time,” she said.
Sutton said he is in favor of the proposal and expected it to pass easily.