POTTSVILLE — There are 500 school districts in Pennsylvania and a number of them are using armed guards to protect students and staff. The Pottsville Area School District is being added to that list.
There are three schools in the Pottsville Area School District with 3,000 students and 200 staff members. Soon they will be protected by armed, off-duty and retired police officers.
School Superintendent Jeff Zwiebel said that was prompted when he saw school shooting and deaths in other parts of the country.
“When everything happened in Newtown in December that helped to kick start the conversation.”
School officials have set aside $75,000 to pay for the armed security force who will get $18 an hour.
Zwiebel said it’s well worth the cost.
“Besides educating our children today we have to do everything on our part to ensure the students and staff safety. It’s unfortunate the way the world is today. None of us asked for this.”
Michelle Herb has two grandchildren in school and supports the idea of having armed guards.
“I think every school district should do it. At least if someone breaks into the school, there is protection in the school so they don’t get killed or hurt or anything.” Herb explained.
Alexandra Frantz just graduated from Pottsville High and said she always believed she was safe.
“Since recent events with the police officers but I felt safe either way.”
School officials said the police officers will be in all of the Pottsville Area School District buildings by the end of the month.