CARTHAGE, Tx. (KSLA) - In a time when schools can’t take any chances keeping students safe, Carthage Independent School District is making sure its campuses are under close watch. The district recently moved to have off-duty, local law enforcement personnel patrolling its schools.
The Panola County Sheriff’s Office and Carthage Police Department will have a larger presence on school grounds.
“It is more important than ever that we ensure the safety of our students and our staff members, I think that’s something our parents expect from schools,” said John Wink, superintendent of Carthage ISD. “The presence of a police officer communicates security, it communicates control and it communicates that we’re going to do whatever it takes to protect our children.”
Four security officers are now stationed at campuses across the district each day, which tallies up to $82,000 for the remainder of the school year.
“It’s going to provide a level of collaboration and trust that’s going to continue to improve our district,” Wink added.
Currently, Carthage ISD also implements the ‘Guardian’ program, as well, which allows trained, anonymous school staff members to carry a firearm.
“Having security officers actually compliments the Guardian program, it adds another layer of safety,” said Wink, " "
However, some residents in the district believe a security measure of this nature is long overdue.
“Well, I think all schools in the United States need law enforcement, you can’t trust anybody anymore,” said Frances Weaver, a Carthage resident, who also has two grand kids in the district. “They [students] are our future...if you have someone breaking in with a gun, they don’t care who they shoot.”
Weaver said with school safety now under a national microscope, she believes this was a solid step for the district.
“You never know when someone is going to lose it and show up to a school and kill innocent people,” she mentioned. " "
The off-duty security personnel comes at a price tag of $82,000 for the remainder of the school year. Wink said he anticipates the funds will be in place to continue this policy into next year.