Flagler Beach, FL – A hyper-vigilant parent, Laura Lauria, has agreed to fund over $11,000 for an armed deputy, from the Sheriff’s Office, to patrol her 12-year-old daughter’s elementary school. An armed guard will be paid up to $32 an hour to patrol the Old Kings Elementary School until the end of the school year.
Flagler county has considered hiring deputies to monitor all of the district’s elementary schools, following the Sandy Hook shootings, but say the cost is too high and it must be voted on by the school board. Deputies have been patrolling the local high schools on a part time basis, according to the Daytona Beach News Journal. The school district pays for four of the deputies at a cost of $286,572, and the Sheriff’s Office and the city of Palm Coast each pay for one.
Laura, whose 12-year-old daughter is a sixth grader at the school, offered to make the payment to School Superintendent Janet Valentine, reports the Daily Mail. Her response to the proposition:
“My reaction is it’s a wonderful opportunity. Of course it always concerns you because you want to do this at every school. We are in the process of making a plan that’s comprehensive that would involve every school, but in the meantime while that happens, I personally thought that would be too wonderful of an opportunity and no reason to say no.”
A grandmother in the community, Gwen Hedley, said:
“If I had the money I’d hire four or five. To know there’s somebody there that if somebody comes in with a gun they could try and stop them before they kill more children.”
Sheriff Jim Manfre appreciates the concern for the children’s safety, but feels this course of action is just a Band-Aid solution.
“I think it’s commendable that someone is willing to put up her own money to secure the children at the school, but I think it should be done at every school.”
Manfre would like to see school-based deputies serve as role models and educate children about topics like the dangers of using alcohol and drugs.
“Nothing is as adequate as having a full-time school resource officer who knows the school, knows the children, knows the building, knows the parents. That’s the best way to provide security at the school.”
Valentine hopes for more nationally-funded school security. Until then, she’s more than willing to accept the generosity from parent donations.
“I think sometimes that’s what has to happen, the community needs to step forward and she has,” Valentine said. “We’re so fortunate that she’s done that.”
[Image via Shutterstock]