As of Monday, an armed, off-duty deputy with the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office has begun patrolling four schools within the same block that make up the Navarro Independent School District near Seguin.
Dee Carter, its superintendent, said she made the decision in the wake of last month’s school shootings in Newtown, Conn.
“No one’s immune from the possibility of a tragedy of that nature, no one,” Carter said.
The veteran superintendent, who also headed Seguin schools before Navarro ISD, said school safety is always a daily concern.
“But after the situation in Connecticut, we determined that we needed to make security a greater priority,” Carter said.
Carter said 1,600 students attend schools in small rural district located in the small town of Geronimo.
The superintendent said many school shootings like Sandy Hook have taken place in suburban or rural areas.
Being out in the country, Carter said reducing response time by law enforcement was priority.
“There are only so many deputies on patrol and they may be engaged elsewhere, “ Carter said. “If we have an emergency, they may not be able to respond as quickly as we would need.”
She said Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke is allowing the off-duty officer, who will be assigned on a daily basis, to use their patrol vehicles as an additional deterrent.
Carter said the Navarro ISD school board this month is set to approve the approximate $50,000 salary.
“The cost of one security officer is equal to the cost of an experienced classroom teacher,” Carter said.
Dora Villarreal, who has two children in the district, said she welcomed the move.
“They check IDs and everything but it’s good to have extra security,” Villarreal said.
But Ralph Senn, a retired teacher who has lived in the district 30 years said, “I don’t think it’’s necessary. I really don’t.”
However, Senn said he understands why parents are afraid and need reassurance.