by Carson Gerber For the Pharos-Tribune
---- — BUNKER HILL — The Maconaquah School District will hire an armed security officer next school year to patrol the district’s four buildings.
Maconaquah will be the first district in Miami County to hire an armed officer, also known as a student resource officer.
Superintendent Doug Arnold said the district is finalizing a contract with the Miami County Sheriff’s Department that would provide a county deputy to monitor the schools during normal hours.
He said the district will use money from a state grant to pay the sheriff’s department $45,000 for the deputy.
“Within the last year, national events have made school safety an important issue,” Arnold said. “We had this grant funding available, so we thought it would be put to good use by ensuring the safety and security of our students and staff.”
The deputy will continue to work for the sheriff’s department during school breaks, Arnold said.
He said the district will review the student resource officer program at the end of the school year.
“It’s a pilot program, but if it’s effective, we’ll find the funding to keep it going,” Arnold said.
He said the district plans to apply for a matching $50,000 state grant to fund an armed officer in upcoming school years.
Arnold said the school already has taken measures to beef up security at the schools. He said cameras have been installed in the high school and middle school, and will also be placed in the elementary school.
Arnold said the deputy will mostly patrol the high school and middle school, but will also be available for the elementary school and Pipe Creek Elementary, in case of an emergency.
The Maconaquah School Board will vote on the final contract during its meeting June 26.
“I think this will be a real positive for our students,” Arnold said. “I think the timing is right for this.”