Students returning to Marlboro schools after the holiday break returned this morning to find armed guards patrolling their schools.
An armed, uniformed member of the township police department was posted at each Marlboro school on a temporary 90-day basis while the school district figures out a long-term solution following the shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 children and six educators were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"Ask any parent in Newtown if they wish they had an armed guard in their school," said Marlboro Mayor John Hornik. "The world changed after Newtown."
Hornik said the armed guards, first posted Wednesday morning, will "calm the public" and "provide a deterrent." He wants to see what security reviews show before deciding what needs to be done in the long term in township schools.
Marlboro appears to be the only district in New Jersey that has taken these measures, said Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators.
"Twenty or 30 years ago, people were worried when police were at a school," Bozza said. "Now they're worried when they're not there."
Bozza said districts are reevaluating security after Newtown but "there are real concerns about resources" as state aid as shrunk in recent years.
Sayreville Superintendent of Schools Frank Alfano, who also chairs a group of 25 Middlesex County superintendents, said that at least five superintendents tell him they are looking at some sort of security enhancement such as bulletproof glass, cameras, better door security systems or even unarmed guards.