CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – As the school year approaches the beginning of classes is not the only concern for school officials. The discussion regarding safety and security has heightened in light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary nearly a year ago.
The devastating massacre that took the lives of 20 children has forever changed the innocence and atmospheres of schools all across America. Consequently, administrators in Douglas County have decided to take precaution by adding school marshals to the hallways of elementary and middle schools throughout the county.
Soaring Hawk Elementary School in Douglas County will have trained officers patrolling their school grounds this fall. Police officers that will be participating will not be dressed in their normal attire in efforts to parallel the school`s soft environment. Instead, the school marshals will wear what they call a “soft uniform” consisting of khaki pants and a black shirt.
Dan McMinimee, the county`s assistant superintendent, says he is confident that the decision is necessary to keep children safe.
“The hope is it’s just a deterrent. That they know at any point there could be a person who could respond to whatever behaviors they’re exhibiting,” McMinimee said.
Three police departments and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Dept. have collaborated to produce officers that will patrol at least seven elementary and middle schools throughout the day. The new faces in the hallways have parents relieved.
“It eases my mind to know that there’s somebody undercover in the school just in case anything bad happens,” said Christie Chaefer, a parent at Soaring Hawk Elementary.
Although many support the school marshal program, the new additions come at a relatively high price. The program in all costs $600,000 a year but it has been funded through the school district`s energy savings program. Reflecting upon the unfortunate events that occurred at Sandy Hook and Columbine, it is clear that Colorado schools are not willing to risk another chance for tragedy to strike again.
-By Melanie Johnson for CBS4Denver.com