When Edgewood School students return from spring break, they will see armed guards in every building.
Officials at Edgewood Schools announced they will more than double their current deployment of armed School Resource Officers (SROs) to cover all five of its schools in rural Butler County.
The February shooting massacre at a Parkland, Fla. school helped push Edgewood officials to make the sweeping security expansion from two to five SROs.
“With the recent shootings in Florida, along with the threats, arrests and school closings that have occurred throughout Ohio in the last several weeks, we felt adding additional SROs was the best investment we could make to protect all our students and staff,” said Edgewood Superintendent Russ Fussnecker.
The SROs will be in place when students return from break on April 9.
It’s the most visible expansion of armed school security by an area district since the Florida shootings that killed 17 students and staffers.
Hamilton Schools this week announced more armed SROs could soon be in its school buildings. Some other Butler County school systems are also discussing expanding and enhancing current security patrols and equipment.
John Thomas, business operations director for 3,800-student school system, which includes the city of Trenton and St. Clair Township, said public input from school parents, community residents and school staffers also prompted the move.
“Everyone was very passionate about the safety of our students and wanted to provide their recommendations and ideas on what could be done. From all of the conversations and requests, there was one consistent recommendation. It was to have a SRO in every school,” said Thomas.
Since the shootings, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones has offered a free Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) training for school teachers and staffers that has attracted nearly a 150 area school personnel.
Jones has also publicly lobbied local school boards to allow a few volunteer and properly trained school staffers to have access to handguns to help prevent school shootings.
The Sheriff’s department will cover some of the costs of the three new SROs, said Edgewood officials.
“These additional officers may be partially subsidized by the Butler County Sheriff Office through state and federal grants they receive,” said Randy Stiver, treasurer for Edgewood.
“Regardless of the funding provided by (the sheriff), we are moving forward to fund the three SROs,” said Stiver.
“This action, in addition to enhancing our “Stay Safe. Speak Up!” safety hotline on April 8, shows our continued commitment in keeping safety and security the number one priority for the students and staff of our district,” he said.