While many school districts are debating how to improve security in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the Field school district has finalized a plan for an enhanced police presence in its five school buildings in Brimfield and Suffield.
With the cooperation of the Brimfield and Suffield township trustees, the Field district will be adding a second school resource officer from the Brimfield Police Department to provide an enhanced police presence in the schools. The Field Board of Education, Brimfield and Suffield each will pay $20,000 toward the salary of the officer.
The joint agreement is a model of cooperation -- and decisive action -- among three entities that have agreed that the security of young people in the schools is a priority. The additional officer is expected to be on the job by the end of the month.
"Studies have shown that one of the best ways to deter school shootings is by having armed police officers in the schools," Superintendent Beth Coleman said. A Brimfield police officer has been on duty in the schools for four years.
Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver said that the partnership between the school district, Brimfield and Suffield is "a testimony to all three ... being aware of the safety of the children of the school district." Their willingness to underwrite a relatively modest share of the cost for the additional officer is proof of that.
The horror that took the lives of 20 school children and six others in Newtown, Conn., has spotlighted the need for increased security for school youngsters and, sadly, served as a reminder that schools are not sanctuaries from violence. While some have called for arming teachers or having security guards patrol schools, the course of action taken by Field -- having trained, armed police officers on duty in the schools -- seems like a better option.
We commend the Field district, Brimfield and Suffield for teaming up and acting expeditiously to safeguard teachers and young people.