Secaucus to arm security guards at town schools

Secaucus announced on Friday the town will assign police officers to patrol the district’s schools while it provides firearms training to the schools’ currently unarmed security guards.

The announcement came nine days after a school massacre in Parkland, Florida left 17 dead, and in the wake of security scares at schools in Nutley and Bayonne. The Florida killings led President Trump to suggest arming teachers to avoid future massacres.

Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli told The Jersey Journal the town will pay between $500 and $900 a day for each officer assigned to patrol buildings. The 2,100-student district has four schools and a preschool.

The district’s 15 security guards are all retired police officers and will undergo psychological evaluations and other testing so they can possess firearms inside schools, Gonnelli said. He estimates the process will take about two or three weeks. While costly for the town, Gonnelli said town and school officials agreed having armed guards “had to happen.”

“In this day and age, we need to do something,” he said.

School officials did not return a request for comment. The town’s police department directed questions to the mayor’s office.

Secaucus’ school district reported seven instances of violence in the 2015-16 school year, up from four the year before, and zero incidents of weapons possession both years, according to a report submitted by the state Department of Education.

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