A school superintendent in Illinois became a school resource officer so she could come to work armed.
Julie Kraemer took law enforcement training in order to protect school students from school shooting tragedies, she told Time.
“If somebody comes in to try to hurt my kids, we have something other than a stapler to throw at them. We’re no longer a soft target. We have some options,” said Kraemer, via Time. “I’m just going to be a superintendent that happens to also be a police officer.”
Kraemer, 51, works in Hutsonville, Illinois, and decided to get officer training after a student in Mattoon, Illinois, brought a gun to school and shot another student in the cafeteria.
“I think sometimes we sit back and think it’ll never happen here, it’ll never happen to us, it’s states away,” Kraemer told Time. “But that was really close to home.”
Kraemer’s school system did not have the budget to hire a full-time school resource officer. Kraemer already had a concealed carry license. Having completed her School Resource Officer (SRO) training, Kraemer can now legally carry a gun on school grounds.
“I have to be able to protect my kids. If you work in education—I don’t care whether you’re a secretary, a bus driver, a superintendent, a teacher, or a principal—they’re your kids. I have 324 kids that come in every day that are my kids, and it matters what happens,” Kraemer told Time.
The National Association of School Resource Officers doesn’t keep data on how many school administrators become gun-carrying officers. At least one other school administrator became a resource officer. In 2010, Goreville, Illinois, superintendent Steve Webb completed similar training. His case reflects Kraemer’s in that funds were lacking to hire a full-time officer.
The School Resource Officer Training Process
Kraemer can be seen in the video taken during the training process. She gets pepper-sprayed, then does jumping jacks, then gets led into an area with a fully padded opponent, who she blindly swings a bat-like object at, as seen in video shown by WTHI.
Kraemer said she needs to be armed because first responders aren’t nearby, since the school is in a rural location.
“If something would happen here, our closest individual would be Robinson, and depending on where they’re at and what they’re doing it could be anywhere between 15-20 minutes before they even get here, and that’s just unacceptable.”
The process included 940 hours of training and a state test. Kraemer previously worked at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute. As a system administrator for Unicore, she had to qualify yearly in firearms and self-defense for the 10 years she worked there, according to WTHI.
“I’ve done self-defense, I’ve had 40 hours of firearm training, before you know I could qualify on that, so I got qualified there. Proper way to put on handcuffs, lots of law and legality things,” Kraemer told WTHI.
The SRO training also included de-escalation tactics, and law. Kraemer started training on Jan. 20, and trained every Saturday until graduation, WTHI reported. She feels it is better to have taken the training just in case of a violent incident where the training would have proved useful.
“If something would happen, just to have known, that, ‘Hey this is something that I could’ve done and didn’t do it,’ I’m not sure that I would’ve been able to do that,” she told WTHI.