Holley, N.Y.—In an effort to bolster school safety, a private security company has been hired by the Holley Central School District for the remainder of the school year.
Superintendent Robert D’Angelo said the addition of officers was not done in reaction to the wave of other security changes undertaken by school districts nationwide following the Newtown Connecticut shooting.
“Our decision to go ahead with security officers in schools was not in direct response to any one incident,” said D’Angelo.
Security officers, who are unarmed, began patrolling the high school and elementary school campuses this past Monday. They work for a company called COP Security and are largely made up of retired local police officers or sheriff’s deputies.
“We want to be able to conduct our jobs and just make them feel that they can be safe and secure,” said Steve Mullen, a retired Genesee County deputy serving the district.
Prior to the hiring of COP Security, the district used staff members as well as surveillance cameras, secure doors, sign-in and a card swipe system for its security, according to a district spokesperson.
“I consider the security officers a progression of the steps we’ve taken in the past to insure the campuses are safe for the people who come here everyday,” said D’Angelo.
It will cost $65,000 to employ the firm for the remainder of the school year and approximately $140,000 next year, should the district retain COP Security.
“To me, it’s worth it,” said Lindsay Fredenhall, a mother of two young children who will attend Holley schools in the years to come.
While the security guards are unarmed, D’Angelo left the door open to the possibility they may be armed in the future.
“There’s always a possibility,” said D’Angelo. “I would always like to know in my own mind (that) we have done everything we can possibly do.”
Security staff patrol 7 a.m. to dismissal and 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the elementary and middle school/high schools and 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the elementary school, according to a district spokesperson.