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Jackson County commissioners have postponed a decision on hiring deputies to man the county’s elementary schools.

The school board and sheriff’s office made a joint request recently for funding for four additional deputies to serve as school resource officers in elementary schools. The issue of cops in schools has taken center stage nationally since the Sandy Hook shooting late last year. While school resource officers are common in high schools, traditionally they have been rare in elementary schools.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office made a pitch to commissioners this week for four additional sheriff’s deputies to be placed in four of the county’s elementary schools — Fairview, Cullowhee Valley, Scotts Creek and Smokey Mountain Elementary.

In a new state of high alert, schools face tough choices when confronted by a threat from a student: is it a precursor to real violence or simply the empty words of imprudent children?

coverOfficer Michael Harrison has confiscated everything from buck knives and Airsoft pistols from students at Swain High — but never a real gun. Until last week.

Harrison and the principal discovered a .22 Remington rifle and assorted ammunition in the tool-box of student’s pick-up truck left behind in the school parking lot after the 17-year-old was arrested for unrelated charges.

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