Pennsylvania School Board Votes to Hire Two Armed School Police Officers

Pennsylvania School Board Votes to Hire Two Armed School Police Officers

Two full-time security guard positions with the Pennridge School District will be changed to school police officers who will carry guns.

The Pennridge School Board in Pennsylvania voted Monday night to hire two armed school police officers for the high school.

Board member Peter Yarnell cast the only no vote, citing “real reservations about putting armed officers in the high school,” he said. The other eight school board members said it was a necessary measure to protect students and staff, and had been recommended by the four police chiefs whose departments have jurisdiction in the district.

“If we ignore the recommendations by security experts and something happens, we all have to live with that,” board President Megan Banis-Clemens said.

According to School District Superintendent David Bolton, the positions would be advertised and the new officers could be ready to start by the time students head to school for the 2019-2020 school year.

Currently, Pennridge has three full-time and two-part time security guards, all of whom are assigned to the high school and none of whom are armed. Following Monday’s vote, two of the full-time positions will become school police officers who would be armed, and a third unarmed part-time security guard will also be added.

These additions will cost an extra $83,000, district officials estimated.

Bolton said one of the school police officers will also have the title of Security Director and be in charge of the security staff.

The school police officers will primarily work at the high school, but they will visit and “develop relationships” at other Pennridge schools, Bolton said.

The school police officers will go through extensive training, including firearms training. They will also receive ongoing training.

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Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.