LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — Each of the three campuses in the Lyme-Old Lyme School District has its own security guard. There is now a proposal on the table to arm those guards.
Superintendent of Schools Ian Neviaser said this is just an added layer of security to keep students and staff safe in light of the recent school shootings and it could be just one of many security measures which have been added over the years.
“Certainly all of us across the country are sick and tired of people coming and harming innocent children and I feel it is my duty and the duty of all people and all adults involved in our district to take care of our students,” Neviaser said.
Per state law, the security guards are all retired law enforcement in good standing with at least 10 years experience.
Neviaser said having someone carrying a concealed weapon on campus could drastically cut down on police response times which can be as long as 20 minutes in this mostly rural town.
The school department is hoping to hear from more parents and staff before and during a special Board of Education meeting next Wednesday when the BOE is expected to vote on the proposal.
“This is the ThoughtExchange,” said Neviaser who showed News 8 the website where parents and staff can comment on the proposal. “The tool we’re using to collect input.”
It has gotten some support.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Jodi, who has two children in the school district. “I think there’s nothing wrong with it and a lot of schools should have them.”
“The only way to stop it is to put these guys down before they get in,” said one man who wanted to be known only as Sonny.
But it has also raised some concern. Karen Taylor, who has kids in the school system, said she sent a letter to Neviaser and the Board of Education. She said she does not support arming guards at this time.
“Mostly because whatever handgun the security guard is going to be equipped with probably won’t be able to outgun something like an AR-15,” Taylor said.
The school has added more security measures over the years like shatterproof glass and specially designed shades on each classroom door. The OuttaVue shade was actually invented by a staff member at a school in Old Lyme.
You just unhook it and it rolls down for privacy. The key to then lock the door is attached to the bottom of it.
The door lock has an arrow and the word ‘lock’ to indicate which direction the key needs to be turned to lock the door, which could be very helpful during a stressful situation.
Arming security guards who would be specially trained could be coupled with an increased focus on student mental health next fall if the latest security measures are approved.
The special Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15 at Center School on Lyme Street in Old Lyme.