CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The city of North Charleston first approved it. Now the Charleston County School District is backing it. Monday night in a 7-to-1 vote, board members agreed to add police officers to elementary schools in North Charleston.
The decision comes after North Charleston City council recently approved the hiring of 21 additional officers. Those officers will be placed in every elementary school in North Charleston. This is in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary where 26 people were shot to death.
Only a handful of people spoke during the public comment portion of Monday's school board meeting. All those who spoke were against adding additional officers inside elementary schools.
"Policemen do not know how to handle youth. They weren't trained for that," one speaker said.
Another man held a similar opinion.
"Many of our young people's actions have become over criminalized," he said.
Elizabeth Moffly was the only board member to vote against placing additional officers in elementary schools.
"If our fear is outside intrusion then what are we doing with them inside the school? Our students are not terrorists," Moffly said.
The overwhelming majority of board members saw things differently.
The move calls for North Charleston to hire 21 additional full-time officers. The City of North Charleston will pay the salaries at least through June 30th.
"I can't speak for the city of North Charleston as to whether this will be continued every year or not. We'll wait and see," CCSD Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley said.
Dr. McGinley agrees adding officers to elementary schools is a step in the right direction.
"If there is anything we further can do to save one child, then we have to do it," Dr. McGinley said.
Dr. McGinley says teachers and other school faculty members will participate in a mock security drill this Thursday and Friday. The goal of the drill is to make sure all employees know what to during an emergency.