Last week's recommendation to hire an armed guard for each Enfield school by a joint Town Council/Board of Education subcommittee on school security has been met with mixed reactions from townspeople and students.
The comment sections on the Enfield Patch story and Facebook page were filled with people citing the pros and cons of placing armed security personnel inside school buildings. If approved, the plan would go into effect no later than the start of the 2013-14 school year.
Some students from Enfield High School have stated they do not approve of the proposal, and are organizing a protest for Monday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Enfield Town Hall.
Sophomore Nick Ide said the rumors he heard about the recommendation were confirmed by the Enfield Patch article and some information on the Town Council web page.
"I proceeded to message some of my friends who I knew would feel strongly about the matter. After a long conversation, we decided that the best thing to do was to organize a protest," he said.
Ide designed and printed some posters, then he and a friend met with Enfield principal Jill Krieger to ask permission to place the posters around school and make an announcement over the public address system to inform students of the protest.
"She seemed supportive of us, however she couldn't allow us to do so, as it was against school policy," Ide said. "We figured this would be the case, so we recruited another friend of ours and the three of us started handing out our posters and trying to spread the word around the school."
Ide said he got mixed opinions on the matter, but felt he and his friends had effectively spread the word around their school. Their next mission was to reach students and parents from all the other town schools.
They knocked on doors around their neighborhoods, then placed posters near the entrances to every school in town. They also plan to hand out flyers around town Sunday.
Ide said the original plan was to protest in front of Town Hall, but now says the group will protest at the rear of the building in hopes of getting the attention of Town Council members prior to their 5:30 p.m. special meeting in the Enfield Room. He asks that persons interested in protesting start arriving around 5 o'clock.
"We've been rapidly gaining support, and we feel as though this protest will have a rather large turnout," Ide said. "In my opinion, bringing guns into schools seems kind of hypocritical if you're trying to keep them out. What if a student manages to disarm one of the guards, then uses that gun? While some may argue that it's very unlikely, it's not impossible, and you shouldn't underestimate someone that's disturbed enough to commit a school shooting."
Ide said he feels the money being estimated for the security proposal would be better spent elsewhere for education.
"I feel as though the $650,000 that they plan to spend on this could be put towards something much better, like new computers, or IPads for every student," he said. "If they really want to beef up the schools' security though, I'd feel much safer if they replaced all of the first floor windows with bulletproof glass than if they put an armed guard in every school."
Anyone interested in more information about the protest may contact Ide at 860-849-1160, or visit the Facebook page he has set up.