Idaho school district adding unarmed security aides
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A southern Idaho school district is adding unarmed security aides to help bolster the protection of its students and faculty.
Twin Falls School District trustees voted in July to hire the unarmed school security aides, the Times-News reported .
The school district aims to have 15 security aides — one for each school, with the exception of Vera C. O’Leary Middle School and Bridge Academy sharing one employee.
The district is still working to fill two positions at Harrison Elementary School and Magic Valley High School.
Of the 13 current security aides, five have a law enforcement or security background.
The new security aides went through training with a student resource officer about what’s expected and protocols. Security aides will also undergo active shooter training in October, led by the Twin Falls Police Department.
So far this school year, there has been a positive response to the security aides’ presence on school campuses, operations director Ryan Bowman said, and he has received a few “thank you” phone calls and emails from parents.
The new jobs cost $375,000 this year — about $25,000 per employee, including salary and benefits.
About $77,000 will come from the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program, and $66,000 is available in new money from federal Title IV funds. The rest will be covered by cutting 5 percent from supply budgets across the school district. One playground aide position from each elementary school was also converted to help fund the new positions.
The district pays half the cost of employing the officers — a total of about $230,000 each year — and the city of Twin Falls picks up the other half.
Whether to arm the security aides in the future is still a topic of conversation. If that happens, it needs to be a well-developed plan that’s implemented incrementally and employees need to be highly trained, school district spokeswoman Eva Craner said.
Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com