Page Sheriff: Better security needed at schools, not necessarily more deputies

Page News and Courier
In the wake of last Friday’s deadly shootings at a Connecticut elementary school, in which 20 young children and six adults were killed, Sheriff John Thomas has been fielding questions from local citizens about the need for more School Resource Officers in Page County’s schools.
Some have even taken to Facebook and other social media to urge their friends to attend this week’s work session of the Page County Board of Supervisors to push for more SROs in next year’s budget. Currently, Page County has two SROs in the county’s high schools, but none in the elementary schools.
But Thomas said he would rather see “a hardening of the schools” in terms of better security before adding more SROs.
“Having more police officers is nice, but the problem is, if they are in one part of a building and someone comes into another part and starts trouble, would he be able to get there in time to prevent something from happening?” Thomas asked.
“The best proactive thing that can be done is a hardening of the schools, increasing security so that there is only one point of entrance and everyone would have to pass through the school office before gaining access to the rest of the building,” the sheriff said.
Thomas said school security will be one of the issues he will discuss at a previously planned meeting this week with Dr. Donna Power, the newly appointed Superintendent of Schools for Page County.
“We will put together our findings and make a proposal to the board of supervisors,” Thomas said. “This is a matter that needs to be studied, and we should be sure that we come up with long term solutions and not just knee-jerk reactions” to what happened in Connecticut.
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