Forsyth Co. officials mixed on having officers in elementary schools

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Several local, state and federal elected officials say they are concerned for the safety of schoolchildren in the wake of the mass school shooting last month in Newtown, Conn., but have mixed views on assigning law-enforcement officers to elementary schools.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that most were skeptical of proposals to arm teachers and other school employees.

State Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, and Vivian Burke, a member of the Winston-Salem City Council, said last week they support putting officers in Forsyth County’s elementary schools.

“The safety of our children and staff is of the highest priority, and we must continually review the changes in our environment and adjust accordingly,” said Lambeth, who has just left as chairman of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education to join the N.C. House. “I support officers in our elementary schools to add a higher level of security than exists today.”

On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza killed his mother, then went to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself as police officers arrived.

The massacre reignited a national debate over toughening gun-control laws and additional safeguards at schools to protect children.

The Winston-Salem Police Department, the Kernersville Police Department and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office provide officers and deputies at the county’s middle and high schools. They are known as school-resource officers.

No law enforcement officers are assigned to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County elementary schools.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal.