The Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education and district administration plans to hold a larger discussion on topics of security and armed campus safety officers for the district after the 2022-23 school year begins.
Superintendent of Schools Rosetta Treece said that the topic of armed campus safety officers (CSO) had been previously discussed several years ago, but at the time the district decided against the measure.
“I do not know if we are going to change with what has happen recently (the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas), but we will not make this decision without having a larger forum,” she said. “This is a community decision, because it is a serious one that affects our children. So know that we will be having that conversation.”
Treece said while discussions among board and district officials will continue, no decisions on the matter will be made during the summer.
The school district has CSOs in all six school buildings and also currently the Board of Education (BOE) office has an officer.
Treece – in a mid-June message and presentation – said there are two CSOs at Hopewell Valley Central High School, two CSOs at Timberlane Middle School, one CSO at Toll Gate Grammar School, and one CSO each for Bear Tavern Elementary, Stony Brook Elementary, Hopewell Elementary School and the BOE office.
The retired law enforcement officers have permits to carry a handgun if warranted, officials said.
Reba Holley, volunteer Moms Demand Action and founder of the Mercer County chapter, said she was not in favor of armed CSOs at the meeting.
“I know that we take great care in choosing our school resource officers (SROs) in the district. I know that they are retired police officers,” she said. “I do want to say that there is absolutely zero evidence that having SROs at all and particularly armed SROs in a school makes any school safer in any way. School shootings are less than 1% of gun violence in America.”
Holley asked that the school board take a step back and consider the statistics.