AST ROCKHILL PA March 28 2019— The Pennridge School District is adding armed police officers to the staff. By an 8-1 vote at its March 25 meeting, the Pennridge School Board approved the job descriptions for the two positions, which will begin in the 2019-20 school year.
The move comes after public discussion over the past few months and is a continuation of school safety measures added over recent years, district officials said.Board member Peter Yarnell, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said he’s heard both sides of the argument and both sides are very passionate.”I have real reservations about putting armed school police officers in the high school,” he said.
He said he’s talked to his grandchildren who attend school in other states and do not have or see a need for armed guards at their schools.”In the end, I just cannot support this proposal,” he said.
The officers will primarily be at the high school but will provide security for all district facilities, according to the job description. The district plans to change two full-time unarmed guard positions into armed school police officer positions and to add a third part-time unarmed guard position. It currently has three full-time and two part-time unarmed guards.”The School Police Officer shall be armed with a firearm and shall have the same power to arrest as the police of the municipality wherein the school property is located,” the job description says.
One of the armed police officers will supervise district security.”It’s about the security of our kids and our teachers and our administration. It’s that simple,” board Vice President William Krause said of the move.Having police at the school isn’t new, he said.”The fact is, on average, there is police presence in the high school three to four days a week,” he said.The move is one of a series of changes made in recent years to enhance school security and was recommended by local police chiefs, he said.