(The Center Square) – Nearly $100 million in grants were approved on May 22 to fund school resource officers at 111 additional campuses across the state of Arizona.
The Arizona State Board of Education followed state school chief Tom Horne’s advice, ensuring that a large portion of the funding goes toward armed officers. Arizona will now have 301 campuses with officers, a strong increase from the previous 190.
“The nightmare is that a maniac gets into a school, kills 20 children, and the parents find out that the school could have had a school resource officer to defend the students, but the school did not do so,” Horne said. “Imagine how the parents would feel about those decision makers?”
In addition to an allocation for school resource officers, Horne’s board also approved more than $45 million to fund 556 new counselors and social workers.
All officers, social workers and counselors will be required under the grant approval process to attend annual training by the Department of Education. School violence prevention, child development, mental health and abuse prevention are just some of the topics they will learn.
The approval follows a meeting with Horne and Phoenix City Council member Ann O’Brien, chairperson of the public safety and justice subcommittee.
“I want to make sure that the public is well-informed about the dangers and potential dangers on school campuses,” O’Brien said. “While I am requesting information from the Phoenix Police Department about data that will better inform the public and policymakers about incidents on school campuses, I urge my colleagues statewide to ask the same from their law enforcement agencies. Our children, their parents and educators deserve no less.”