ST. MARYS — Like their full-time counterparts, the St. Marys Area School district’s new part-time police officers will be be armed, Superintendent G. Brian Toth said Tuesday.

In order to carry their guns, however, they must first be granted permission in the Elk County Court of Common Pleas.

Pennsylvania law, Toth explained, requires that school officers receive the court’s blessing in order to carry firearms on campus. The district’s two full-time officers are already armed.

The two new part-time officers, whose contracts were approved Monday by the district’s board of directors, will split their time between different school buildings as needed. Toth said administrators have long discussed putting officers in place at the district’s elementary schools.

The two current, full-time officers, Toth said, predominantly patrol the middle and high school. The hiring of the new officers, he said, was hastened by the recent shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

“In these days, it is much needed,” Toth had said earlier said of the hiring.

Toth said the employment of the new officers will have a “minimal” impact on the district’s budget for contract services. Both officers, per copies of their contracts, will work no more than 25 hours a week at an hourly wage of $15.

Neither will receive benefits like healthcare and sick leave.

Both will report to Officer John Lovett, whom Toth called the district’s seniormost officer. Their contracts will continue on a year-to-year basis.

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