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Parents Debate Plan To Put Armed Guards In Elementary Schools

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BERTHOUD, Colo. (CBS4) – Parents in Northern Colorado’s Thompson School District are debating over a controversial plan to put armed guards in elementary schools.

Concerned parents got to weigh in on the idea for the start of a new school marshal program for the first time Monday night in Berthoud.

While many support the idea of added security, there are also questions about how it will work.

“It sounds a little unstructured at this time,” said parent Elizabeth Kearney.

The goal is to have Larimer County reserve deputies in the halls of six elementary schools in the district, with one of them being Carrie Martin Elementary School.

Carrie Martin Principal Deanna Terry told CBS4 that after recent tragedies she welcomes the idea.

“It’s very difficult to go to bed at night if you don’t think you’ve done absolutely everything you can to keep your kids safe, and when Sandy Hook happened and we realized even elementary schools are vulnerable, it was a very difficult time,” said Terry.

Not everyone agrees. Some parents who attended Monday’s meeting questioned whether the armed deputies are necessary for children who are so young.

“Sandy Hook happened, yes it was an extreme tragedy and I cried, and I had to hug my children as soon as I got to them but does this have to happen across the country like this?” said one parent.

“I don’t think it had anything to do with politics. Don’t you want your child to be safe?” another parent said. “I mean, we are in the middle of nowhere — a lot of people don’t even know where that school is at — it is the perfect opportunity.”

Sgt. Jeff Vanhook says the program is still developing and the input from parents is invaluable, but at the end of the day their goal is simply to protect schools from tragedy.

“They already have the equipment, they already have the cars, the only thing it’s costing is their time,” said Vanhook.

The marshal program would be in addition to school resource officers that are already in place. The reserve deputies are volunteers and it would be an added responsibility for them.

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