Armed guards now on duty at Pasco elementary schools

First day is a time for meeting with kids

HOLIDAY, Fla. — Retirement for Mike Mahoney didn’t last long. The grandfather spent more than 20 years working in a Connecticut jail as a corrections officer.

Now he’s walking the halls at Gulfside Elementary as a new school safety guard.

“We all know about Sandy Hook. And that drove me to come forward and jump on this opportunity,” he said.

The Pasco school district hired 55 school guards, most with military or law enforcement backgrounds.

The Sheriff’s Office trained them, and while they do carry guns, they don’t have the power of arrest.

For the first day, “Mr. Mike” is going around to make sure everyone knows who he is and why he’s here.

“If you need anything you can come talk to me,” he told a classroom of first graders.

He knows the responsibility he now has.

“It weighs on me a little bit. I’m happy to do it and look forward to it. And if the time ever should arise I will be here for the kids and the staff here," he said.

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