The chilling effect of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy has towns across the nation reevaluating their school security. Some school districts have reacted by talking about hiring armed guards. But in Marlboro, it’s more than just talk. On their first day back after the winter break, Marlboro students are returning to schools that are now patrolled by armed police officers. NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider spoke with Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik about the controversial decision.
There is now an armed police officer for each of the nine public schools in Marlboro. Hornik says those officers are off-duty and coming off of patrol. “We are filling in the open spots in our scheduling system while we try to figure out how to staff this problem.”
The town’s board of education approved the additional cost to staff these new positions as a direct response to the Newtown shooting, which Hornik says changed school security.
“They had what we’re told the state of the art security. Marlboro Township has always put its students first and its public safety first.”
Gov. Chris Christie has said that posting a guard at the front door of every school wouldn’t stop a similarly determined gunman. Hornik counters that the governor has yet to come up with a suggestion on how to improve school safety.
“Now these are police officers that grew up in our community and that our children know, and there are comforting, safety reasons to have them there for right now,” he argued. “It’s been approved by the board of education for 90 days while we evaluate security in all of our schools with information that comes out of Newtown, Conn.”
That information from Newtown that Hornik and the board of education are waiting on is a law enforcement report similar to the one that came after the Columbine massacre
“Nationwide, school districts adjusted their security accordingly, so we’re going to wait to see what comes out and our police department will make some recommendations to our board of ed and then we’ll make a decision on whether to continue the police in the school program,” said Hornik.