Henderson County, NC – Protecting Students With Armed Guards

By Faye Higbee

Henderson County is attempting to take their students’ safety seriously. They have decided to hire armed guards for every school – 23 of them- in the county beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. Other counties are planning on armed volunteer security.

“Henderson County has always been a sleepy little town. We’ve not felt like we’re threatened here. Well, we have to start acting like we’re threatened.” Amy Lynn Holt, Chairwoman of the school board

The Daily Wire reported,

Henderson County differs from neighboring counties which are using volunteer school resource officers; Stanly County will start using volunteer school resource officers in April at four elementary schools. As the News & Observer notes, “Johnston County is also considering the possibility of using armed volunteers, while the Rockingham County sheriff wants to use armed volunteers in his county’s schools.”

Henderson County Sheriff Charles McDonald said it would be difficult to find enough volunteers “to be able to hold the kind of standards that we want,” adding that the armed security guards won’t be sworn law enforcement officers, but still have to be vetted the way deputies are, as well as go through psychological testing.

Henderson County Manager Steve Wyatt echoed, “As the sheriff alluded to, you can’t just pick people off the street.”

The county is not excited about arming teachers themselves, so they plan to hire security that is armed from former law enforcement and military officers. Volunteer security is one idea, but they still need to be vetted as well.

Henderson County has 14,000 students in its 23 schools. It’s going to be expensive to hire 23 armed guards for the school district,but at least the school district is being proactive on the matter.  Finding volunteers to do it might be a bit more difficult in the long run. Certainly staff who prove themselves stable and competant during specialized training would be a good resource as well, especially since they are already being paid to do their jobs on site.