The Hazleton school board will hire armed law enforcement officers to staff metal detectors at eight schools.

Reversing its previous decision to hire unarmed security guards, the Hazleton Area Board of Education voted Thursday night to place armed personnel in the district's combined elementary-middle schools.

The Standard-Speaker of Hazleton reports the board was sharply divided over the issue, 5-4.

Board member Steve Hahn says armed officers will cost about $120,000 more than the unarmed option, but that it's worth the extra money.

Hahn says the officers will help kids develop healthy relationships with law enforcement from a young age.

Board member Robert Childs, a pediatrician, opposed the move. He says it's ``an illusion that we can make our children safe by putting armed guards in there.''