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New Hanover Co. School Board pushes for deputy in every elementary school

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- In light of the tragedy in Connecticut the New Hanover County Board of Education says it has received numerous questions from parents regarding school safety in the past few days. Tonight, the board called a special work session to discuss school safety.

Wednesday night's special work session began with a moment of silence in memory of the lives lost at Sandy Hook.

Board members heard recommendations from New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon.

"My recommendation," McMahon said, "would be 24 deputies to cover our elementary schools. I want the community to know that since Monday, since this happened on Friday, this has been the top priority."

Based on the recommendation, the board unanimously passed a motion to ask the county commission for funding to implement the plan.

One parent I spoke with says she agrees every elementary school should have a deputy.

"Increasing the law enforcement presence in our school we're allowing students and staff to interact with law enforcement in a very positive way in their very first, hopefully last and only, interaction," said Stephanie Kraybill.

But while everyone agreed you cannot put a price on student safety, the measure would come at a cost.

"At the same time I think it's important that people recognize that we have addressed it," said board member Ed Higgins. “We continue to address it. But like so many things... money."

One thing everyone seemed to agree on is that making sure students are safe at school is a top priority.

“It's such a shame that it's come to this,” said Sheriff McMahon. “But this may be our new norm and we will do everything that we can to keep the children safe."

School superintendent Tim Markley says the board plans to have a proposal drafted and sent to the county commission as early as Thursday.

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