The Region 10 School District in Burlington recently informed parents their plans to train and arm security guards for the upcoming school year. But many other schools in the state take a different approach to student safety.
In 2013, Connecticut passed Statute 10-244a, which allows schools to employ former police officers as armed security guards if they train with the Connecticut Police Academy.
Gene Torrence, Region 10’s school resource officer, sees arming security guards as a sensible step forward.
“Currently we have a staff of security guards that are all retired police officers, in good standing, so now we are taking the next step and we are arming those people under that statute,” Torrence said.
Among the 206 public school districts in Connecticut, only four of them employ armed security guards. Those are Glastonbury, Newtown, North Branford, and Region 9, according to data provided by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council. One independent school, Woodstock Academy, also employs armed guards.
Most districts, like Hartford Public Schools, employ school safety officers with training in de-escalation techniques. These officers cannot arrest people or carry a firearm, but have certifications in dealing with aggressive individuals.
Daryl Roberts, Hartford Public School’s Director of Security, sees unarmed, uniformed safety officers as a good deterrent to threats.
“You can't measure prevention, but I do think kids feel safer knowing there's a uniformed officer in the building,” Roberts said.
Hartford Public Schools will not arm school guards for the upcoming year, but will continue to assess the situation.