OLD LYME, Conn. (WTNH) – The Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education voted to arm security guards on school campuses Wednesday night.
Each of the three campuses in the Lyme-Old Lyme school district has its own security guard. The Board of Education voted on whether the guards would carry concealed weapons on campus.
Only two members voted no.
The proposal came in light of recent school shootings. Per state law, the security guards are all retired law enforcement in good standing with at least 10 years of experience. The school has added more security measures over the years like shatterproof glass and specially designed shades on each classroom door.
The proposal to arm security guards was created to address the police response time during an active shooter situation.
“Our police, our state troopers are not close. They can take up to 20 minutes easily to get here. Having an armed guard here saves that step,” said Steve Wilson, a board member.
Before the board voted, the superintendent shared results from an online questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to district staff, parents and middle/high school students. 419 people responded, the majority being parents. Over 200 people said they support the proposal, while about 90 were against it.
Several parents asked the board to delay the vote and take more time to discuss the idea.
“I think all of us today are here for the same reason: we want to protect our kids. The only question is are we making the right decision to do that?” asked Dave Rubino, a parent.
“If we only have one of these guards on the Lyme Street campus here, how is that person supposed to respond on foot faster potentially than our police department does?” asked Anna Rider, a parent.
Anna Davis is a high school student in the district. She doesn’t think adding more guns to school will make students feel safe.
“I am familiar with the two security guards on campus and I feel they are friendly. I feel the second they are carrying around a gun, that entire mood changes.”
The superintendent said the estimated cost of arming guards will be $43-48,000 annually. That does not include the one-time cost of $8,900 to purchase the handguns and gear.
This will go into effect in September of this year.