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Armed Guards in Enfield Schools Topic of Community Conversation

The school security subcommittee is hosting a forum Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Enfield High School.

A community conversation regarding the placing of armed guards in Enfield schools will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Enfield High School.

Members of the public are invited to voice their opinions about the controversial topic. However, since the Town Council and Board of Education each approved a memorandum of understanding in the past few days, approving the installation of armed guards at each town public school by the beginning of the next school year and a job description for the new posts, a number of residents are questioning the decision to hold a public forum after the governing bodies have already conducted their votes.

"Make note that this is the second time this board has voted against waiting for community comment before voting," Vinnie Weseliza wrote on the Facebook page "Enfield Needs Positive Change and Results."

On the same board, Shawn Droney wrote, "They don't care what people feel so now it will pass and no one will be at the discussion tomorrow and then they go on record and say the residents don't care."

Some school board members asked to postpone the vote until after the community meeting, but a majority opted to decide Tuesday. That vote passed 5-4, with Jen Rancourt, Tina Leblanc, Joyce Hall and Peter Jonaitis dissenting.

"Why couldn't they wait for the community conversation? Thank you Joyce, Tina, Jennifer and Peter for at least attempting to educate people," Tracy Hackett wrote.

Rob March 27, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Studies from Columbine, Virginia Tech, and others have shown that armed guards do nothing to increase safety. These are well planned out attacks. The shooter will target the guard first. Eliminating the guard by surprise leaves everyone else just as vulnerable. This money would be better spent on mental health professionals in the school that can treat people before they become violent. Most of these attackers are children who were bullied and a school counselor can do more to prevent these tragedies than an overweight inept guard.
Debbie Martinez March 27, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Thank you Enfield BOE! I agree 100%. Which does not happen often. Now lets get some sort of outside communication to each class room, so when these kids are lockdown in a room you have a way to communicate with people outside the school other then the cell phones that aren't allowed in class.
Karen Surprenant March 27, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Why call them armed guards? People think of men dressed in camo carrying AR15's's. Just call them police who are there to be friends with them. Or resource officers? Why scare the children? It's the town and the parent's who should know better then to create this situation.
Rich Pehl March 27, 2013 at 03:10 PM
This a panicked reaction to a few isolated events. The town of Enfield, like the Federal Government want to spend money wastefully. We're already needlessly spending tens of millions of dollars to close one school, to completely overhaul the other, to combine the two..? Maybe build a moate, and guard tower at the same time. I'm all for safety, but these measures are unnecessary. By the way, the potholes on my street are going on twenty years old!
Dennis Turowsky March 27, 2013 at 04:26 PM
In response to Rob: There were two armed guards at the Columbine massacre. One traded fire with Harris for an extended period of time, during which Harris’s gun jammed. The deputy and the backup immediately called for help and exchanged fire with the shooters a second time and helped begin the evacuation of students, all before the SWAT teams and the rest of the cavalry arrived, and before Harris and Klebold killed themselves in the library. Harris and Klebold had an assault plan — a sloppy plan, but a plan nonetheless. They had dozens of IEDs, some of which detonated, others of which did not. And there were two of them. In this highly chaotic tactical environment, the deputy acted both bravely and prudently, and who knows how many lives he saved by engaging Harris. At Newtown, Lanza was delayed from entering the school’s main entrance, and had to shoot his way in through a security window. His tactics were far less sophisticated than Harris’ and Klebold’s. It’s not implausible to think, afforded the time to respond by Lanza’s delay at the front door, an armed officer could have put him down before he began killing in earnest. Not a guarantee, but far from implausible. As a parent of a 4 year old , I prefer that option over Rob's touchy feely method of having more counselors.
Lin Chojnicki March 27, 2013 at 04:44 PM
To those not in favor of Enfield's new school security plan, which political party are you "angry" with now? Who are you planning to vote out of office? Enfield has over 26K eligible voters, so let's see what happens in the next election. The Facebook page, Enfield Needs Change, encourages change and "a change" occurred last evening. The Town of Enfield's Republican lead Town Council (though believe two Reps voted against, some Dems voted for, and one Dem abstained), and the Town's Democratic lead Board of Education, each voted in favor of the new security plan for all the town's public schools. And these votes occurred after a BOE public information meeting held two weeks ago, that few attended. As is generally the case, the "silent majority" doesn't say much when things are going the majority's way. But maybe its time the "silent majority" spoke up a bit, in support of the tough decisions the elected officials have recently made.
Rob March 27, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Dennis, you proved my point how the guards are ineffective at preventing an attack. That should be the goal. Not just to limit casualties. The naive approach of throwing money and more guns at the problem is not a solution.
delete account March 27, 2013 at 05:10 PM
While I am not 100% in favor of guns in schools, at least the town leaders and police dept. are working together and taking steps to proactively protect our children in the schools...NOW, which is more than most communities are doing. Given the current social environment, protection needs to be in place asap. I'm sure there may be equally effective, less intrusive, alternative measures that are available. If citizens have suggestions, by all means, attend tonight's meeting, or contact town officials and present your viewpoints/plan of action. This is a process-nothing is written in stone. The common goal is to protect the children.
Kp Stymie March 27, 2013 at 05:20 PM
They are guards and they are armed. I don't care if they're wearing a clown suit or dressed in full drag and makeup. The point is the kids don't need to learn they need a police officer there all the time to keep the big bad boogey man away. These decisions are being made by people so filled with fear they can't think straight.
Dennis Turowsky March 27, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Rob, if your child got out of Columbine alive because of the actions of the guards, would you still think they were "innefective"?
Rob T March 27, 2013 at 05:51 PM
What about our two Enfield Public Libraries? These are town managed buildings without any armed guards!!! How can we gamble with our precious childrens lives everyday in these unprotected libraries?
John Ragno March 27, 2013 at 05:58 PM
This is an emotional politically correct decision to an isolated incident. What did we do to prevent the Oklahoma City bombing from occurring?
Carmen March 27, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Thank you Dennis, for your facts - which CLEARLY prove an armed guard saved countless amount of lives while distracting one of the two shooters. I've waited for a rational arguement from those who disagree with having our schools protected with a guard but I have not heard one yet. This isn't a tough decision... it's a necessary one.
John Whalen March 27, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Great, what happened to the Parochial schools? Are they the sacrificial lambs? You either feel they should be in the schools or you don’t. I do not think we should pick and choose which schools get them. I’m not against taxes where needed; but this way I will be paying more taxes to the town for guards at multiple schools that my son does not attend. Yes we choose to send him to a private school but the town makes out for the fact that we pay in and only use the busing. How about metal detectors at the schools, Panic door locks, cameras, a strategic building protection system; multiple ideas that can be put into place. How about putting together a trained tactical response team that has authority to act the moment they get to a scene. This way not only schools can be protected but anywhere in town can be protected; or are we going to budget for guards at the mall, the college, home depot etc.? Lastly; thanks for making up your minds on this before the town was able to voice their opinion.
Paul Batchelder March 27, 2013 at 08:57 PM
All of this because one parent chose to provide weapons training to a son and then was killed by that very son. What next - barbed wire fence around our public schools? When are parents going to take responsibility for teaching their children respect for others? Take away the violent video games. Why don't the town council and school board members put this item up for a vote before all voters instead of spending half a million dollars a year for an ineffective guard system.
Kp Stymie March 27, 2013 at 09:25 PM
SO what you are saying is that we should have a locked and loaded police squad roaming around with the ability to 'deal with' any 'perceived threat' without any chain of command? And you thanked the town council for making the decision without the rigamarole of review and approval from the town? Sir, have you read the Constitution? Or even just the Bill of Rights? You pay tuition to your "Private" School. Security measures should be "privately" funded. By the by, real Private Schools, residential with the children of Royalty and ridiculously wealthy families, who are targets for kidnapping, do not have armed guards.
stluva50s March 27, 2013 at 09:58 PM
$650,000 for armed guards in 11 schools; $0.00 for full day kindergarten. Welcome to Enfield, the new seat of the Tea Party and the NRA - armed and underachieving.
Hope Rice March 27, 2013 at 10:26 PM
I agree with you, Rob. The root cause of these violent acts is always mental or severe emotional illnesses. Because of the stigma attached to them, privacy laws protect the problem. Often times privacy can be dangerous by preventing exposing a potential harmful situation. SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING, could ward off situations and can be done without malice or punitive reasons. I wish we could bring back the "in loco parentis" mission in our schools. This is really dating me, but I remember when every adult in my public school, along with our neighbors and extended families "had our backs”. It was unheard of that teachers would allow a potential law suit to intimidate them and prevent them from calling attention to a problem. Now, these kids are so on their own, lucky to have two parents looking after them, with single working mothers being their only watchdog.
Michelle C March 27, 2013 at 11:20 PM
What happened to this town?? Enfield used to be a great place to live. I grew up here and shared many great experiences with friends and family. Now all you hear about in Enfield is its increased criminal activity, increased taxes and now armed guards in our school system! I am all for keeping our children safe but having armed guards in all the schools is a little ridiculous if you ask me...especially at the cost of $500k a year for something that is not a guarantee to keep our children safe. Guns DO NOT belong in schools. One man alone cannot protect an entire school from the monsterous actions of an insane individual...gun or no gun. It is up to the entire school system and community to implement proper safety precautions for our children and having armed guards in a child's facinity is certainly not one of them. I am thankful i have a few years until my son is in school because I just cant see him attending a school where there is an armed guard at the school everyday. This is not the kind of enviornment I want to raise my son in. It's really scary.
George Lazare March 27, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Pure paranoia...This is total crap designed to make you feel better and line the pockets of those lucky new union thugs that will rob you blind...PURE BS
Hope Rice March 27, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Michelle, I agree with you in that it is up to the ENTIRE school system and community to look after your son's safety. I think the first requirement of any employee in a public school is that you must have the ability to "love other people's children". Guns are not the answer. Guns are what we want out of our schools, not in! What about the little elementary school buildings sitting along the roads when the children are outside at recess. How are you going to prevent a drive by shooting. Why was this decision made without more input from the parents and taxpayers? If this could guarantee that one child would be spared, then of course the money is insignificant, but I think the problem is much broader than that. The schools have had a no tolerance rule on bullying, drug use, etc., but those problems have not gone away. It is a scary world, and it did not just happen over night.
George Lazare March 27, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Why not on every school bus. Maybe one per student to make sure they get home. This is total CRAP
Tig March 28, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Thanks to the board for only thinking of themselves and their own kids. Thanks for taking my tax dollars and using them to hire private security for your kids. Thanks for not including my child because she goes to a Catholic school. Apparently, the Catholic children are not important, they are expendable. The board must be a bunch of Muslims and Jews. This is not lawful. This will not stand. Get ready Enfield. Prepare to get sued.
stluva50s March 28, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Tig, Though I don't agree with this decision at all, your comment about Muslims and Jews wreaks of bigotry. Your child may go to Catholic school but the parent should go to church and confess.
Tig March 28, 2013 at 02:47 AM
No, my comment doesn't wreak of bigotry. Not including children that go to religeous schools wreaks of bigotry.
stluva50s March 28, 2013 at 04:04 AM
Tig, You really don't get how ridiculous you sound? Or bigoted? You call the BOE "a bunch of Muslims or Jews" like it is something dirty. I am a Catholic and am ashamed for you. Your heart would be better served if you joined the Westboro Church. You are not a role model for your child when you make comments like these.
gone fishing March 28, 2013 at 11:24 AM
TIg maybe your tuition you pay for your kid to go there should cover a security guard for the school it's your choice to send your kid to a private school and not a public one.
Michelle C March 28, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Nicely said, Rob. One man, even if armed, cannot protect an entire school against the vicious acts of an insame individual. Guns do not belong in the presence of children. The entire school system and community need to implement multiple safety precautions by working together and having a guard with a guns isnt the answer. This is not the type of enviornemnt I want to subject my son to everyday. There has got to be a better solution.
John Whalen March 28, 2013 at 02:03 PM
KP 1) Any sort of tactical response team would always have a chain of command; use your head 2) Lastly; thanks for making up your minds on this before the town was able to voice their opinion. This was sarcasm, but you must have missed that when you responded too quickly. 3) I have no problem paying for private security if needed; what would have been nice is not having a decision made for me without even being able to voice my opinion first. 4) your last comment is just babble; but based on how many posts you create, says enough. There will be no further comments to you on this!
godblesstheUSA March 28, 2013 at 02:46 PM
AGREED! I think it will send the wrong message and a false sense of security.

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