Districts to discuss placing armed guards on elementary campuses

Districts to discuss placing armed guards on elementary campuses

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Most Central Texas school districts have armed school resource officers in middle and high school campuses but what about elementary schools.

The issue is being discussed in some Texas districts in light of recent events. But is it a good idea?

It's no surprise districts are taking a second look at their security measures. But some experts say armed officers in an elementary school setting may be going too far.

Armando Ybarra considers himself pretty involved. He knows most of the security measures at his daughter's school, Pease Elementary.

"We have cameras all the parents know one another, we only have 250 students," said Ybarra.

Ybarra says even though he feels Pease is a secure campus, he wouldn't mind having an armed Resource Officer there or other bigger elementary schools.

"I think it'd be a good idea to have them too. That way they can interact," he said.

In Central Texas from Leander to Hays County ISD's armed Resource Officers are on site at middle and high school campuses, but not elementary schools. It's a topic that could come up Thursday in Round Rock when board members discuss making changes to entrances to several campuses to make them safer and more secure. But not everyone agrees guns should be allowed in a place where 6-year-olds can roam.

"That's not going to eliminate the problem," said parent Kati Pelletier.

It's nothing against guns, she says, in fact she owns several of them. Still, Pelletier, says it may not be right answer officials are looking for in preventing school shootings.

"It's too little too late. Saying this bad thing happened so now let's make sure it doesn't happen again. Well it's not going to happen that way again," said Pelletier.

So what effect could a resource officer who is visibly carrying gun have on a small child?

"You completely shift the learning environment," said child psychologist Allison Chase. She says the cognitive development that's taking place in an elementary school child is vastly different than the older students.

"Their knowledge is not such that they can completely understand that their school is a safe place but yet you have this armed guard to keep it safer. It wouldn't make sense to them," she said.

A dividing topic that is not likely to disappear any time soon.

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