Paterson NJ schools adding cops amid security guard shortage | #students | #parents

PATERSON — A day after authorities locked down a city high school over a report of a gun, Paterson education officials revealed they have been struggling with a shortage of security guards and announced they would use off-duty police officers to fill the gap.

The district did not provide any details on the extent of the shortage of security guards, who are hired through a private company. Nor did officials say how many off-duty police officers they would deploy, or which schools would get the cops. 

About a decade ago, the district routinely used off-duty officers to bolster school security. But gradually officials said they reduced the number of cops they deployed in schools down to a handful.

Students and staff members at John F. Kennedy High School had to go through metal detectors before entering the building on Thursday afternoon, one of several measures the district took in response to the incident the day before when officials said someone called about a gun being dropped during a fight near the campus.

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“The staff shortages that have been impacting organizations throughout the country have been impacting our district’s Security Department, but we are fortunate that our security team has been working since July to increase the number of professionals to protect our students and staff,” said Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer. “Every student and every staff member must have a safe environment when they come to school.”

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