Camden City schools consider making extra school security permanent

After the mass shooting in the southern Texas elementary school, New Jersey announced schools will have extra police presence. But, in Camden County, will the extra presence be permanent?

Students flooded out of Camden High School in the afternoon, waving signs in solidarity and sorrow for the children and teachers massacred in Texas.

"Are you concerned about your safety?" FOX 29’s Jeff Cole asked.

"So, yes, because now it’s easier to get a gun anywhere, same as the 18-year-old in Texas," 9th grade student Damian Irizarry replied.


Some 400 students attend Camden High and there are many doors in the building, students say.

That fear, largely brought on by the slaughter in Texas, is why officials gathered on the steps of the high school.

"Our young people and their families deserve to know and to be assured that their students are safe each and every day," Camden City Schools Superintendent Katrina McCombs stated.

For the rest of the school year, Camden Police say they’re teaming up with the Camden County sheriffs to strengthen security outside more than a dozen school buildings in the city.

"We’re going to have two or three officers at every school patrolling and walking beats, as well," Chief of Police Gabriel Rodriguez said.

It’s a heavy lift in a city struggling with grinding poverty, but the chief says he’ll have at least one cop outside all schools when students and staff are there.

"Could your officers stop an 18-year-old with an AK-15?" Cole asked.

"I’m sure they can. They’ll risk their life or give their life to stop that person from hurting our children," Rodriguez answered.

New Jersey's attorney general has ordered school security to be tightened statewide. And, while police were not seen outside Cherry Hill East Thursday morning, the district says there’s armed security inside.

Camden will also lean heavily on its crime cameras to spot intruders and fight to keep its kids safe.

"We shouldn’t have guns. You can’t take someone’s life and feel good about it," 9th grader Francesca Berroa said.