New Jersey's East Brunswick Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to staff the hallways of its 11 public schools with paid police officers in an attempt to protect their children, ABC News reported.
What are the details?
Though the timing of the vote was prompted by Wednesday's deadly Florida high school shooting — which took the lives of 17 people and injured many more — the proposal itself had been waiting in the wings for over two years, according to Victor Valeski, superintendent of schools, ABC News said.
The resolution is a collaboration between the local police departments and the school district, and will permit armed officers to guard the schools within the district.
"This is something [that] has been in the works for two and a half years," Valeski told ABC News, adding that the latest high school shooting was a "catalyst" to rush the vote.
ABC News reported that schools will be staffed with officers on a volunteer basis through the department, but noted that those officers will be paid for their efforts.
"We expect the cost [to be] $430,000 and that’s on top of their budget of $1.7 million for their existing unarmed security officers," Valeski said.
According to ABC News, the district declined to identify how many officers would be added to schools, citing security protocol as a reason.
The outlet reported that 71 security officers currently staff the district's schools, and all of them are retired law enforcement professionals.
Valeski noted that all new officers will be in place by next week.
According to the outlet, just one day after East Brunswick Public Schools passed the resolution, a high school student was "arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat based on an online posting," the district said in a release.
Valeski told ABC News that relationships forged between security officers and students is "invaluable."
"We have a very cooperative relationship with local township police and local administration, mayor and council, and we couldn't do this without their support," Valeski added.
The news release from East Brunswick Public Schools stated:
At its February 15, 2018 Meeting, the East Brunswick Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to engage the East Brunswick Police Department to have armed police officers at all of its schools throughout the entire school day to insure the safety of our students and staff. The armed police officers will supplement the District’s already existing staff of 71 security officers – all of who are retired police officers – to further enhance the security at all of East Brunswick Board of Education facilities throughout the school year. It is the Board of Education and Superintendent’s commitment to take all necessary measures to insure that our students, staff and visitors remain safe and secure in our schools. The Board of Education and the Superintendent wish to thank East Brunswick Township and the East Brunswick Police Department for its willingness work collaboratively with the District to provide armed police officers throughout the school year to enhance school security.
This morning, a high school student was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat based on an online posting. This online posting was brought to the attention of District staff by a parent and student at the beginning of the school day. The offending student was immediately identified and escorted to the Main Office by a District Security Officer. East Brunswick Police Officers questioned the student and then took him into custody and will be charging the student with making a terroristic threat. The Board of Education and Superintendent thank the parent and student for reporting this very serious matter and also wish to thank the District’s Security Officers and the East Brunswick Police officers for their swift action to ensure the safety of our students and staff. It is imperative that whenever anyone learns of a potential safety threat that they immediately notify the District and the East Brunswick Police Department. As a community, we all have to remain vigilant and work together to ensure the safety of our students and staff.