The Arcadia School District, one of the smallest in Ohio, made a bold statement this week when its board voted to hire a full-time security director at the 600-student school.
That officer, former Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Saltzman, will be armed, and on the job beginning this coming school year.
It would be hard to fault Arcadia for being willing to pay to keep its students safe, but it won’t be cheap. Saltzman’s two-year contract will cost the district about $100,000, roughly the same two-year pay a teacher would collect.
By making the move, the board addressed an issue that many are still just talking about.
For rural Hancock County schools, a full-time, police-certified security officer is new territory.
Two school resource officers employed by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office currently patrol each of the eight county schools. But while the officers visit each school daily, there are voids in security.
Findlay City Schools have a security staff based at Findlay High School, but the security is more limited at other schools in the district. Findlay is now considering placing a levy on the ballot this fall which would increase security personnel, upgrade surveillance and address mental health issues.
Arcadia is the first rural school in Hancock County to hire a full-time, armed officer, but may not be the last. Other districts will likely be watching closely to see how the position works at Arcadia.
While no one thing can stop school violence, Saltzman’s presence at the school will serve as a deterrent to anyone who may have a desire to disrupt the school day.
His role will include monitoring the school’s safety plan and providing building security, as well as interacting with students and school staff. Information obtained through those connections could help prevent disruptive incidents from occurring.
Nothing can stop all the evil that can lead to school violence, but Arcadia is to be commended for taking an important step to create a secure place for its students to learn.