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fr SROsAt first blush, Officer Nan Tritt looks like any other cop. She wears a badge and a gun, and the heft of a bulletproof vest shows under her uniform.

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners have made it clear that without a property tax increase, funding is unlikely for additional school resource officers and guidance counselors.

Law enforcement officials in Haywood County are stepping up to keep a watchful eye on schools as leaders plot their next steps toward increasing safety.

Parents have probably already noticed one simple and cost-free solution to better school security: deputies and police officers have started parking their patrol cars at one of Haywood County’s 16 schools whenever they need to take care of administrative tasks such as filling out reports or doing paperwork.

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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