Providence, RI - Senior Deputy Minority Leader Anthony Giarrusso (R District 30 – East Greenwich, West Greenwich) will introduce legislation to make it easier for schools to hire experienced security personnel and keep children safe.
The tragic number of mass shootings around the country in recent years has prompted many parents, school officials, and lawmakers to call for security guards to patrol each school. Some local police departments in Rhode Island employ school resource officers to protect students but this is expensive and reduces the available work force in other areas.
To reduce the strain on local law enforcement, some have proposed allowing retired police or military personnel to work as school security officers because of their skill set and experience. Many retirees have expressed interest in serving as security guards but they are concerned that by working they will endanger their retirement benefits.
Rep. Giarrusso believes that the state should reduce the barriers between these qualified individuals and Rhode Island schools saying, “We must do whatever it takes to secure our schools. Investing in things like metal detectors and cameras is important but if there is no one available to monitor them then it is all for nothing. This state is home to plenty of law enforcement and military veterans who could help protect our students but they feel limited because of their retirement packages.”
The bill introduced by Rep. Giarrusso is designed to calm the fears of retirees who want to serve by allowing anyone with significant law enforcement or military experience to work as a school security guard regardless of any contractual or governmental work limitations.
“If these individuals are willing to put their lives on the line for our children we should do whatever we can to protect them. This bill will ensure that schools have a larger pool of talented individuals to draw on as they work to create a safer learning environment for everyone,” said Rep. Giarrusso.
Ian O'Connor, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903