GERONIMO, Texas -- A rural school district with fewer than 1,700 students has hired a full-time armed deputy to keep the peace.
At the Navarro Independent school district in Geronimo, Texas, this armed guard doesn't come cheap. School officials say his salary is $50,000.
But after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut the superintendent says it's a priority that's worth paying for.
District Superintendent Dee Carter says she made the call to hire a full-time armed deputy on December 18, following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. She even posted on the Navarro Independent School District's website a letter to parents: http://www.nisd.us/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=285267&id=0
In the letter she said that a Sheriff's deputy will now be working two four-hour shifts to protect all four schools. The schools are in close proximity to one another.
"Having a deputy on campus gives us two things. Number one: as a deterrent," said Carter. "It assures us of a very rapid response to any kind of large incident."
"The tragedy in Connecticut was so egregious, so seemingly random, you just have to take into consideration that it could happen anywhere," said Carter.
But with a salary that's more than what teachers make, some members of the community are on the fence about this decision.
Diane Richards, a neighbor says an armed guard sends the wrong message. She feels it would cost less to educate staff on how to protect their classrooms.
"Take the $50,000 and educate our teachers on what to do and how to do it," said Richards.
Carter is also calling on principals to have school lockdown drills.