SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Sandy Hook School shootings in Connecticut have led parents at a private school in Scottsdale to take extra steps to keep their kids safe.
El Dorado Private School had no extra money to increase security so parents got to work.
“We banded together and formed a committee, literally within an hour or two of the incident in Connecticut,” said School Safety Co-Chair Brian Bratspis.
They decided to hire armed off-duty Scottsdale police officers to patrol the campus and pay for it themselves.
“Each parent is willing to pay between $200 and $300 dollars for the entire school year,” Bratspis said.
The group hired eight officers that rotate duty and protect the school’s 261 students, who range in age from preschoolers to eighth graders.
Officer Janice Semora is one of the officers. Every Tuesday, she gives up her day off and comes to the school in a squad car in full uniform, including her gun.
She has spent her days walking around the campus, talking with students and making sure everything is as it should be.
Having her there has already paid off for the school. She had to summon the fire department on Tuesday.
“We had a haze that built up in one of the classrooms, and an odor,” said Semora. “We weren’t sure if we had an electrical problem or a fire that may have been up in the rafters that we weren’t seeing. We evacuated and had the fire department come out and check everything out.”
Instead of taking precious minutes to notify administration and have them call 911, Semora used her police radio to summon fire crews quickly. The fire department later gave the all clear and classes resumed.
Semora said school safety and facing a similar incident to the Connecticut shootings has been on her mind long before she became a police officer.
“I was a teacher before I became a law enforcement officer and thought about it back then,” she said. “I was getting my degree when the Columbine incident occurred. I was in school when that happened. This has always been something that’s near and dear to my heart.”
Principal Linda McDermott signed off on the idea and said it’s an example of how parents at her school step up to the plate and get involved in their child’s education.
Bratspis hopes that El Dorado will be an example to every other school in the country. He believes that parents at any school can take the same action they did and it doesn’t cost very much. He said that if parents commit to contributing about $10 to $20 per month, they can hire armed officers for their campus without the school having to spend any more money.
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas