Middle Township, NJ, latest to add armed guards in school
As an enhanced police presence continues at all schools in New Jersey in the wake of the Texas school massacre, but more districts are adopting policies that will placed armed guards inside school buildings.
The latest is Middle Township in Cape May County.
Middle Township Board of Education members will vote on Thursday on a proposal to place armed security inside all school buildings.
Superintendent David Salvo told 6 ABC it was the recommendation of police Chief Chris Leusner, and expects the measure to pass.
The new security measures would involve retired police officers armed with 9m handguns who have undergone special training. It would not take effect until the start of the next school year.
Middle Township would become the second New Jersey district to place armed guards inside school buildings.
Monmouth County's largest school district, Middletown, approved armed security for all 16 schools in the district. The vote by the school board was unanimous.
The board issued a statement after the vote which said, "This action, along with increased funding for mental health services, is a commitment from our administration, board and township to put our children first and foremost."
For now, Middletown has only committed to having armed guards inside school buildings through the end of the current year.
Placing armed security inside school buildings has been debated for years as mass shootings have become more common. The murder of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, was the catalyst for a handful of districts in New Jersey moving forward with enhanced security.
There have been concerns there would not be enough retired police officers available to meet the demand for security, but there has been a recent spike in retirement amid the law enforcement community.
According to the New Jersey School Boards Association, officers must have retired within the last three years and be less than 65 years of age to qualify for Class III status to be hired as an armed school security officer.