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School district takes first step in plans for armed guards in elementary, middle schools

By Roger Adkins, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Schools is developing a policy that would allow armed security personnel in the county’s elementary and middle schools.

The proposed policy would create 12 positions, to be funded by the district’s excess levy. These security officers — armed with concealed weapons — would cover the county’s elementary schools, as well some middle schools, on a rotating basis.

The Kanawha County Board of Education approved the first reading of the policy during a meeting Thursday. Under the proposal, only retired law enforcement officers with the proper credentials and training would be permitted to fill the positions.

“Primarily, the purpose for them is to protect the students and staff that are inside the building from people outside the building coming in and committing any violent acts,” general counsel Lindsey McIntosh said.

To be funded by excess levy revenue

The excess levy funds for the positions will not be available until the start of the fiscal year on July 1. However, if the policy is approved, the security officers could be in place as early as the next school year, pending a successful hiring process, KCS officials said.

The program will cost the school district about $1 million in the first year, including transportation and initial outfitting, but that cost could be lower in subsequent years, said executive director of safety and security Keith Vititoe.

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