In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Connecticut, six schools in Greeneville, Tenn. have chosen to place an armed guard at each school.
City Administrator Todd Smith said in a news release, “”We want to enhance police presence at all of our schools to reinforce security and the comfort level of both students and parents.”
The decision has been met with mixed reactions. Some parents choose to home school their children rather than subject them to the risks. Many parents feel more comfortable knowing a trained, and armed professional is devoted to protecting their students.
The idea is nothing new, for several years school resource officers (SRO) have been the norm for many school districts in Tennessee.
In fact, SRO’s are written into the state law. Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-4217 defines the employment standards for school resource officers. “Training courses for school resource officers shall be designed specifically for school policing and shall be administered by an entity or organization approved by the peace officers standards and training (POST) commission. School resource officers shall participate in 40 hours of basic training in school policing within 12 months of assignment to a school. Every year thereafter they shall participate in a minimum of 16 hours of training specific to school policing that has been approved by the POST commission. Within 30 days of the beginning of the school term, each LEA shall publish and deliver to the commissioner an annual report of the employment standards adopted by the LEA. The report shall include a description of the LEA’s methods of enforcing the employment standards.”
So, whenever a parent sees an armed, uniformed SRO at a school, the officer has been specifically trained for that duty.
By Wes Hall