AZ educators, parents voice concerns over school security - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

AZ educators, parents voice concerns over security guards at school

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

One week after the tragic shooting in Newton, CT, the National Rifle Association suggested putting armed personnel on every school campus in America.

But Madison School District Superintendent Tim Ham told CBS5 that may not be such a good idea.

Ham said that he'd support having a police officer at all of his Phoenix elementary and middle schools, but not a security guard or volunteer.

"No, I would not feel comfortable with that," said Ham. "When you're talking about a trained officer, that is much different than a volunteer who does some course where we talk about a deadly weapon on campus."

Parents CBS5 spoke to felt the same way.

"It's like a baby sitter," said Harl Heydenreich, of Phoenix. "You can't put anything or anybody with your children. It needs to be somebody trusted and knows what they're doing."

"It's too scary," said Elyssa Dear, a Phoenix parent. "Only trained people like police officers should be the ones with guns on campus."

The other issue is cost.

Educators said that even if all 1,946 schools in Arizona agreed to put a police resource officer on campus, it's unclear where the money would come from to pay them, especially after the state has slashed millions of dollars from the education budget over the past few years.

State School Superintendent John Huppenthal released this statement:

"While the NRA recommendation is one alternative, it is one that would be a huge financial burden on an already financially stressed education system. We believe we need to think more deeply about the root causes of these events, and what other approaches might be able to be introduced that would ensure even safer schools."

"When you start talking about schools absorbing those funds, we've experienced so many cuts, I don't know how that's feasible at this time," Ham said.

A number of school districts had resource officers in their schools, but they don't anymore after cutbacks a few years ago, said Ham.

They also no longer have school counselors or nurses.

Copyright 2012 KPHO (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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