PAPILLION, Neb. — A Catholic K-8 school in Papillion will now use armed, plain-clothed security to protect students during school mass.
St. Columbkille Catholic School and Church decided to initiate this program called BADGE, which stands for Brave Armed Defenders Guarding Education, to add an extra layer of security for students and staff.
The school-day masses are held across the street from the school in a separate church. School officials say the church does not have the same level of security as the school, prompting the extra security.
"In general, the culture of things that have happened with violence in our country and even with children and so this was the one space where our children were not being protected or secured in the same way as in the school buildings. So we thought this would be a step towards protecting them," associate pastor Tom Greisen said.
The volunteer, off-duty officers will be present during mass, but will be inconspicuous to everyone else.
The volunteers have signed contracts to only use their weapons in an event of a deathly threat. The contract also holds officers harmless if they fail to act.
School officials say this decision comes at the parents' request for additional safety. The program goes into effect this school year.