Security guards at a Leavenworth middle school will be carrying guns beginning next week.
Liz Nieman's kids are in elementary school now, but in a few years they'll attend Richard Warren Middle School down the street from her Leavenworth home.
Like many parents nationwide, she worries about the safety of her kids.
“It scares all of us,” she said.
However, she has mixed feelings about the Leavenworth School District's decision this week to arm security guards at Warren.
“I feel really torn about it honestly,” she said. “On the one hand, I want someone there to protect my kids. On the other hand, I am concerned about who you're just handing a gun to.”
The district said the school board voted this week to purchase guns, handcuffs, and tasers for the guards, both of whom are former police officers.
In a statement, the school wrote: “Currently, this policy would directly apply to two security officers assigned to Richard Warren Middle School. An armed School Resource Officer from the Leavenworth Police Department is already located at Leavenworth High School.”
Leavenworth police will help train and certify the security guards. and they said they'll factor the guards into their emergency response plans.
“This is not unusual, to have armed security guards at a school,” said Pat Kitchens, the Leavenworth Chief of Police.
He said several districts in the region have similar guards placed in their schools.
“I don't think there's any question that everyone has the topic of school safety on their mind,” he said. “The school board and district made this decision, which is a reasonable one.”
Nieman is relieved that the guards at the middle school both have previous firearm training.
“If someone's going to walk into a school with a gun, they need to be vetted pretty intense,” Nieman said.
She said every district needs to protect its students.
“We need to do something,” she said. “I don't know if this is it, but we need to take steps to make our kids safe.”
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