After Newtown, more armed security as students head back to school

Found Here on washingtonpost.com by  Associated Press, Published: August 24

Dara Van Antwerp, the school resource officer at Panther Run Elementary School. The armed school resource officer who will be permanently stationed on campus, though crime in this middle class community has been on a steady decline. The decision comes in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., last year. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Dara Van Antwerp, the school resource officer at Panther Run Elementary School. The armed school resource officer who will be permanently stationed on campus, though crime in this middle class community has been on a steady decline. The decision comes in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., last year. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI — In the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Pembroke Pines, students returning to school this year are being greeted not only by their teachers and principal. They’re also meeting the armed school resource officer who will be stationed permanently on campus.Crime in this middle-class community has been on a steady decline, but city officials decided to place a school police officer at every elementary, middle and high school after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., last year.

“It is a relief to have them here,” Lakeside Elementary School Principal Linda Pazos said Monday, the first day of school.In the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook, many districts across the nation are increasing the number of school resource officers on campus and, in a few cases, permitting teachers to carry concealed weapons themselves.

An armed security presence is now standard in many of the nation’s middle and high schools, but it has been rarity at elementary schools. Few districts can afford to place a school resource officer at every elementary school, because there are so many and they tend to have fewer incidents requiring a police response than middle and high schools.

Lawmakers in every state in the nation introduced school safety legislation this year, and in at least 20 states those proposals became law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The new laws range from one authorizing a volunteer, emergency security force at schools in Franklin County, Ala., to one allowing Missouri state employees to keep firearms in a vehicle on state property, if the car is locked and the weapon is approved by authorities and not visible.

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