Growing Number of Schools Arming Themselves With Defense Budgets, Including Armed Teachers | 2/11/2019 | Staff
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“These districts sell bonds by using those words, like ‘safety’ or ‘security,’” said Richard Michael, who operates a website that tracks public school bond issuances in California.

“But they make things so vague, like ‘secure doors,’ ” he said. “The money can be spent in any number of ways, but the first thing that is done is to upgrade the facilities, and they can roll in security as part of that. So a district can redo the entryway of a school, then add a few cameras and maybe a buzzer access system and say, ‘See, it’s for security.’ ”

Tom - Gentzel - Director - National - School

Tom Gentzel, executive director of the National School Boards Association, declined to be interviewed for this article. But in a statement last month, he praised boards for working “diligently and consistently for many years to enhance security” and urged continued federal spending to fund “school resource officers, to expand mental health services and school counseling, and to enhance school building design and construction initiatives.”

In addition to taxpayer-approved bonds, several states passed emergency measures that require more security personnel at the schools. That means new hires who are likely here to stay, since no one is ready to shed security staff, with attendant legacy costs including health care and pensions that exceed the immediate cost of reassuring parents.

Staff - Commitment - Joy - Baskin - Director

“When you add staff, it tends to be an ongoing commitment,” said Joy Baskin, director of legal services for the Texas Association of School Boards. “But school districts say they would rather have more access to law enforcement than other forms of security, like technology.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s $110 million school safety plan is aimed at more security staffing at schools....
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