BLOOMFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey school district’s plan to put armed guards in its elementary schools has some parents pushing back.

They’re worried about firearms in schools and outraged over the cost, said to be over a half-million dollars.

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Bloomfield has armed guards in its high school and middle schools, but the plan to put retired officers with weapons in elementary schools next year is striking a chord.

“My kids are aware of guns, they know they’re not safe but they know that police officers should have them,” parent Noel Gatts said. “But to see them on a daily basis at their school is alarming at least to my children.”

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Gatts formed Bloomfield Families for Sensible Safety, with around 200 parents who have signed an online petition against the school board’s plan.

“While I realize these are professionals, accidents can happen,” parent Laurie Orosz said.

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Leah Warner concurs.

“No research has been found to demonstrate armed guards specifically help against school shootings,” she said. “There is no research out there.”

Ads were posted this weekend to hire what are called Class-3 officers. One would go in each of the district’s eight elementary schools and preschool.

Under state law, the officers must be retired within the last three years and wear a police uniform. Proponents say it decreases the threat of violence.

The superintendent says over the last few years, the district has spent more than $2 million and insists appropriating money for the school guards won’t hurt other programs.

“This is not about turning schools into prisons,” Superintendent Salvatore Goncalves said. “We understand the importance of developing the culture within a school to be a friendly place, to be a safe place.”

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Goncalves adds the decision will be finalized in the next four to six weeks. The school board is holding a public meeting June 5th, where they will take parents’ concerns into consideration.