HILTON, N.Y. — Back in June, the Hilton Central School Board was presented with a proposal to approve the placement of armed guards across the district. The decision was ultimately postponed in order to give the public an opportunity to weigh in.
The district estimates that the proposal would cost around $80,000. Costs would include the purchase of a gun safe for each building as well as ammunition. It would also pay for the firearm and training required for the 16 armed guards.
"Ultimately, if an active shooter came into the building, we would want these individuals to mitigate and save people's lives," said Dr. Casey Kosiorek, Hilton Central Superintendent of Schools.
The 16 guard positions would be filled by staff already employed in the district. All have a minimum of 20 years experience working in law enforcement.
"That's the type of person you want to see performing that duty, and not spending $130,000 on a School Resource Officer who isn't really doing anything to prevent the bad people," said Jon Kierecki of Hilton.
However, those opposed say the district should take a closer look at preventing a school shooting, citing the lack of locks on classroom doors.
"It's reactionary rather than preventative. When you look at the facts, they're more likely to have more problems with this. This in a way is almost a solution that's looking for a problem," said Gary Pudup of Greece.
A second forum will be held at Merton Williams Middle School at 7 p.m. on August 13. The district is also encouraging parents to weigh in through a confidential online tool called Thoughtexchange — of which they have two options available for parents, one in English and one in Spansh.