Alpine schools debate need for armed security guards on campuses

Parents voice pros and cons; board takes no action

ALPINE, Calif. - The fear of violence on campus triggered a school board discussion Thursday night about hiring armed guards for the Alpine School District.

Jennifer Martinez is a mother of three and told 10News that she is worried about safety after the Sandy Hook, Conn., school massacre, and that she's in favor of some armed officers.

“Not necessarily in elementary schools, maybe middle schools; having an armed police officer there I do believe that's the area we need to focus in on," Martinez said.

Jim Archer is a grandparent who's not so sure.

"I think armed security is a problem because I don't think it would deter the situation," Archer said. "The lion's share of people up here are law enforcement. So having it in Alpine, I don't think, is the same thing as in New York or Chicago or places where they have a lot of crime."

One father talked about financial priorities. 

"We're not sure how this board could add officers without cutting teachers.  This is a school.  This is a trade-off my wife and I don't want to make," he said.

A lieutenant for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's Alpine station, Jose Sanchez, told the crowd they have to attack the problem before it reaches the point of tragedy.  

"If someone's on campus with a gun and has to use it, I think we're a little too late at that point.  If we can create an environment where we don't get to that point, that'll be even better," Sanchez said.

According to Sanchez, he's all in favor of planned additional fences and gates, and having a noticeable presence of teachers, staff and volunteers on campus, which make it a hard target.

The Board of Education for the Alpine School District took no action in the matter.

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