South Huntington School District implements armed guards in response to school shootings

Chanteé Lans Image
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Long Island school district to implement armed guards
South Huntington School District plans to implement armed guards after a unanimous school board vote in January. Chantee Lans has the story.

HUNTINGTON STATION, Long Island (WABC) -- A school district on Long Island is now using armed guards to try to protect students from gun violence in the wake of the deadly shooting rampage in Nashville that killed three small children and three staff members inside an elementary school.

On the same day as that shooting, Lindenhurst Middle School went into lockdown after a 12-year-old boy stabbed his 13-year-old classmate, leaving him in critical condition.

A student was stabbed Monday in a hallway at Lindenhurst Middle School on South Wellwood Avenue before 12:30 p.m.

"I have no word for this," the victim's father Arturo Gonzalez said. "This is unbelievable."

The ongoing chaos nationwide has already prompted a policy of armed guards in the Long Island School District of South Huntington.

In January, a unanimous school board vote passed a policy to have an armed guard at all schools in the district. The district previously had unarmed guards in the schools.

Superintendent Dr. Vito D'Elia says all schools, including four elementary schools, will now have armed guards on the outside only. He says the guards will be somewhere on the property, often discreet, like in a car of the parking lot.

"I don't want kids to having to feel like they're living in a jail, they live in a prison," he said. "That's not what we are. They're here to get an education."

The guards will consist of a team made up of retired police and military officers with current active shooter response training.

South Huntington is not alone. At least several other school districts on Long Island will also use armed guards.

In the most recent deadly school shooting in Nashville, the shooter was carrying an AR-15 which has a faster rate of shooting.

Dr. D'Elia says that every second of response time counts.

"Parents send us their prized possessions, my job here is to make sure they get home," he said. "That's my job. That's my number one responsibility."

If you're wondering how much the armed guards cost, it's $750,000 a year. That money comes out of the school budget.


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