Parents applaud armed guard at Cherry Hill high schools

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Friday, May 18, 2018
Parents applaud armed guard at Cherry Hill high schools
Parents applaud armed guard at Cherry Hill high schools. Gray Hall reports during Action News at 5pm on May 18, 2018.

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WPVI) -- A couple of months after Cherry Hill School District hired armed officers to patrol its two high schools, parents say they feel a better sense of security.

In the past, there were always officers but they were not authorized to carry weapons. That changed after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland Florida in February.

"Every school in South Jersey should have guards, and we are really safe and we feel that every kid is now safe and there is nothing really to worry about like we had without them," said Eleanor Kendall.

As part of the new security policy, there are two armed campus police officers at Cherry Hill's East and West High Schools. The campus officers are hired by the district, fully trained and previously worked for police departments outside of the school district.

Parents say the move was long overdue.

"I like them being there and even when I drop off my kids I see them there and do get a sense of security. But I believe they could do more, perhaps like metal detectors," said Javier Soto.

The recent news of 10 dead after a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas does not ease the nerves of parents. They say the safety of their kids is constantly at the top of their minds and they hope they never get that call that there's been a shooting at their child's school.

"Every parent I believe feels the same way, you don't know when you are going to get that call," said Kendall. "It seems like the kids are unsettled, but now the guards are here at Cherry Hill West I think that we as parents feel much safer."

"As much as I can I try to make them feel safe, but as a parent I think that is all I can do," said Soto.

Action News has learned that there is a plan in the works to hire five additional campus officers that will be assigned to the elementary and middle schools.

Until then, the schools will be patrolled by the police department.


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