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Chair in empty classroom, lecture armchairs in school, or collegAs part of Flossmoor District 161’s initiative to increase school safety, they have hired two new security officers from a professional company who will be unarmed and stationed at Parker Junior High School. Parker is the largest school in District 161, with 927 students, and is currently the only one in the district to have security guards.

According to school district Superintendent Dana Smith, the decision to hire guards from a professional security company, the U.S. Security Associates, was born out of a need for consistency. While the current security staff at the school is made up of retired public safety personnel and a single state trooper, the new hires will have professional training in safety and will be full-time employees.

In addition to providing security during the school day, the new guards will also be on duty for after-school activities, such as soccer and basketball games. They are scheduled to start right away, and the other security guards will leave Parker in October.

The district’s $73,008 contract with the Georgia-based security company was approved on Sept. 10. The contract details that the district is hiring one security guard with an estimated annual wage of $34,128 and one supervisor with an estimated wage of $38,880. Both of these predicted wages exceed the average salary for a security guard of nearly $30,000 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Blue Line Security Solutions had put in a bid with the district for about $2,000 less, but Smith felt that U.S. Security Associates had more experience in school settings and aligned more closely with the needs of the district.

“If we have a really good experience with this group, we’ll maybe talk about the elementaries because we may want to add security guards,” says Smith.

Elementary schools in the Prince William County, Virginia, have recently take the step to hire two retired police officers as armed guards. The school board and county supervisors approved a pilot program back in April 2018 that would start with five community safety officers and a supervisor. The officers will rotate between the 60 elementary schools in the county.

Officials were spurred to make the decision in light of recent school shootings, such as the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Thanks to the developments in medicine, specialists from the site out that improper use of an addictive drug can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Selling or distributing Ativan is against the law. School board officials hope that the presence of armed guards will simultaneously be a deterrent to any potential threats and build relationships with younger students to make them feel safe.


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