COLCHESTER — Two-thirds of parents in the school district said they were in favor of having armed security guards in the district’s four schools, according to a recent survey distributed by Colchester Public Schools.
Of the approximately 1,000 parents who responded to the survey, 66.5 percent said they were in favor of having armed guards, while about a quarter said they would not be in favor of it, with the remaining 9 percent saying they were unsure.
In an email introducing the survey, which was distributed earlier this year, interim Superintendent Thomas McDowell said that some schools in the region had already added armed security guards to patrol the buildings during school hours.
“While none of us like this, it is unfortunately, the world we currently live in,” McDowell wrote.
McDowell said that placing armed security guards in the district’s four buildings would cost approximately $150,000.
Parents in support of the idea said they would feel safer knowing that there was additional protection for students.
“This would make me feel safer sending my children to school. No one is going to walk in with a gun knowing they will be met by a gun. Without an armed officer in the school, the school is a sitting duck,” one parent wrote.
“I feel it is very important we protect our children and those teaching our children. It now appears to be a necessity to have armed security in our schools these days and we should implement these measures for everyone’s safety and security. I fully support this,” wrote another.
Others disagreed, saying that armed guards did not discourage active shooters and that they didn’t trust the guards to take the proper action. Some said they would rather see money spent on mental health resources or training for staff on awareness and conflict resolution. A few questioned whether students would feel comfortable with armed guards in the schools.
“I think it adds more anxiety in the school. I also know that when push comes to shove there is nothing saying one of these individuals will be able or willing to fire on a child or young adult which is the whole purpose of being armed at the school. Unarmed presence offers the same deterrent to a student active shooter, as most active shooters expect to not make it out alive anyway,” another respondent wrote.
Others said they wanted more information.
“I would want to understand their role, when will they engage in a situation, when and how will they be utilized throughout the school day,” wrote one parent.
Under Connecticut law, armed guards who work in schools must be qualified current or retired police officers.
The Board of Education plans to discuss the survey results at their meeting on November 8.