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Idaho school district adding armed guards to improve safety

UPDATED: Tue., May 29, 2018, 3:21 p.m.

RATHDRUM, Idaho – An Idaho school district will hire its first armed guard this summer in an effort to improve school safety.

The Lakeland Joint School District’s ultimate goal is to have an armed guard at each of the district’s 11 schools in addition to the two current school-resource officers, Assistant Superintendent Lisa Sexton said.

“We held two town hall meetings and taxpayers have said, `If we have to pay for armed guards, we will pay for armed guards,“’ Sexton said.

The district’s priority will be Athol Elementary, but the guard could also assist at Twin Lakes or Garwood elementaries if necessary, Sexton said.

It has typically taken law enforcement longer to respond to Athol compared to all the other schools in the district, she said.

It took 22 minutes to respond to one recent 911 call at Athol Elementary, according to Sexton.

“We want people to know that, should someone (be a serious threat) on the grounds, they’ll be confronted with someone who has lethal force,” Sexton said.

The school district has $42,000 for the first armed guard position from a supplemental levy that was approved by voters last year, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported. The district will have to add funding to make it a position with benefits, Sexton said.

It hasn’t been determined if the district will ask patrons for funding for one or two additional armed guards in next year’s two-year supplemental levy.


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