Police officers will now be assigned to all Evesham Township schools after a 14-year-old boy tried to provoke officers into shooting him this week.
Each elementary and middle school in the Evesham Township School District will be staffed with a police officer through the end of December as details for a long-term plan are worked out, officials said Thursday.
The move comes after 14-year-old boy was seen with a replica handgun near Van Zant Elementary School on Monday afternoon. He was apprehended by state police detectives, and told investigators that he wanted to force officers to shoot him in a suicide attempt.
No Evesham Township police officers were patrolling the school when the incident happened. Mayor Randy Brown has pressed for a full-time police presence at the district's seven elementary schools and two middle schools, which had been patrolled on a roving basis.
"Our most precious gift are our children, in these times we must be proactive and preventative when making security decisions regarding our children," Brown said in a statement Thursday.
Township officials said officers will now be assigned to the schools on a daily basis, initially using existing personnel, funded by the existing operating budget.
A long-term plan remains under discussion, and officials said they hoped an agreement would be in place by the time students return from winter break in January.
Police said investigators don't believe the boy in Monday's incident intended to harm anyone at the school, which had dismissed students for the day but briefly went on lockdown for teachers and after-school clubs remaining inside.
The teenager, who has not been named, was taken a mental health facility for evaluation after the incident. He faces charges of aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon and other offenses.