Even with the indelible memories of the Sandy Hook grade school tragedy—only a fraction of elementary schools in Illinois have armed police officers.
And some parents who work in a school office in Palatine think that’s just fine.
“Guns do not belong in a building like that," school secretary Sheree Auge said. "Not in elementary level, not in a building like mine.”
Typically school resource officers or SROs are only found only in high schools and middle schools in Illinois--and not many of them. But the superintendent of Palatine District 15, made up of 15 elementary schools and a learning center is trying to pioneer a change.
“I think it’s a no brainer," superintendent Scott Thompson told NBC 5 in an interview Wednesday.
The idea, discussed openly with the school board for the first time Wednesday night, is unique and potentially controversial: hire retired police officers—who the law allows to carry a weapon in a school—and have them fill empty clerical jobs, in plainclothes, in a school’s front office, with a loaded gun in an ankle holster.
“In my estimation it’s the best way we can keep our buildings safe," Thompson said.
But what about the skill set combo of armed protection and secretary skills? Not to mention the image of a fortified front office among the youngest and most impressionable.
“I I have big concerns about it," Anita Jamnick, a secretary in the district, said.
None of three women who work in District 15 school offices that NBC 5 spoke to see the benefit.
“It’s just not a place for guns I mean you have too many little kids running around," program assistant Angie Drazkowski said.
But Thompson sees it as the ultimate solution to a nagging concern for all schools housing the most vulnerable among us.