The first day of school — that special time when kids meet their new teacher, their new classmates, and this year, for kids in Worcester County, Md., their school's new gun-toting deputy.
Worcester County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jerry Wilson says in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting last December, he realized that it's harder to gain access into most corporate or governmental buildings than it is to get into almost any school.
And he, along with parents, politicians, and police officials on the coast, are not okay with that anymore.
"When we look at our schools, it's one of the few places in the public sphere, where we don't have some level of protection," says Wilson.
In addition to 13 armed guards, the county used capital grants from the state to beef up their school's security systems, including panic buttons, new doors, card swipe access entrances, and even visitor ID checks using surveillance cameras.
Some area schools, like those in neighboring Wicomico county have stocked up on donated bulletproof dry-erase boards from a local armor manufacturer called Hardwire LLC.
Wilson says he expects the reaction to be mixed.
"I sense some will be relieved, some will be surprised, and some will probably be disappointed that things have to get to this degree."
But, Wilson calls this sense of heightened security in schools the unfortunate, but new reality we live in.