Bethel Twp Resident Sam George addresses the Tecumseh School Board in front of a full audience. ANDY GRIMM | PHOTO

Several area residents addressed the Tecumseh Local Board of Education on school safety at their meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 27).

“I think we should consider having a 24-hour Sheriff at all of our schools,” said Bill Snider. “We used to have it back in the late 70’s.”

He said that having a deputy present would be better than arming teachers because deputies are better trained.

“It’s going to cost us money, but so what,” he asked. “Our kids are worth it.”

“I really think the biggest problem is not guns,” said Snider. “It’s why kids are going to guns.”

He went on to say that until we learn why kids are going to guns, more legislation and protests will not solve the problem.

Assistant Superintendent Paula Crew said that the district was “tenaciously addressing” those and more issues at all of the schools.

“I cannot believe the difference in this country from when I went to school and what it is now,” said Shelton Prudhomme, a self-described “old military guy.”

He maintained that denying people the right to defend themselves puts them in jeopardy. “That’s what these people who are doing these types of things are looking for – where nobody has a gun,” he said.

“Time is of essence,” said Sam George, who presented an Armed Defense team program in 2016 to the board. “In order to stop the shooter, you have to have somebody inside.”

“These signs out here [Gun Free Zone signs] say ‘you do not have the right to protect yourself if something goes down,’” he said.

George added that Shelby County has enough teachers who have volunteered and trained to ward off any shooter with firearms stored in a biometric vault. He said that there may be a few minutes delay while the teacher accessed the vault, “but it’s better than 15 minutes” waiting for deputies to arrive. He said that the Shelby County Sheriff has told him that he will speak to any school district that wants to learn more about the program in effect in his county.

He also mentioned the possibility of hiring retired police officers at $16 to $18 per hour, who can be deputized.

Board President Peter Scarff assured the residents that the board would be seriously looking at these matters. He said that the board has looked at various security measures in the past and has rejected them, but with three new members, “it’s a whole new board.”

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