By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
LAPEER, MICH (WNEM) -
How would you feel if your child's school had an armed guard patrolling the grounds?
A Lapeer County school has hired a new security guard who they say is prepared for any situation.
Chatfield School Director Matt Young told TV5 his school prides itself on being a safe learning environment for the near-500 students who attend.
"In the process of reviewing security procedures, we felt there were some improvements we could make. Many you can see, some that are unseen," said Young.
The school installed new cameras and the teachers have received additional lockdown training, to name the not-so-obvious changes. But one obvious change is seen and that's when you walk in the front door and come face to face with the school's newest asset.
"It's probably slim to next to none that someone's going to be needed in the school, but it's that slim you have to worry about," said the school's security officer Clark Arnold.
Arnold is the school's recently-hired security officer. He patrols schools front entrance. The only doors open during school hours. He's also armed.
"It's a tremendous asset to the safety of our students," said Young.
Arnold retired from the Lapeer County Sheriff's Office after 32 years on the job. His former boss, Sheriff Ron Kalanquin, believes the district did the right thing hiring an armed security officer.
"Law enforcement's been cut, we have 4,000 fewer police officers today than 9/11, so when a school district can prioritize a service like this and do it, I think it's well-merited," said Kalanquin.
And Arnold said he certainly doesn't expect any problems, but said his presence offers a peace of mind.
"It's too bad it has to come to this. But it's not any one thing that's going to stop it, and so if I can be here and help things and make people feel better, that's what I'd like to try and do," said Arnold.
"Providing a safe environment and an atmosphere where parents are comfortable, students are comfortable, and feel safe so that they can focus on learning," said Young.
TV5 tried to talk with parents off school property Tuesday afternoon, but those who we spoke with declined to go on camera. However, the parents TV5 did talk to said they feel much better leaving their child at the school knowing there is an armed guard protecting the entrance.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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