PAPILLION, Nebraska — A Catholic school in an Omaha suburb will station armed off-duty officers to protect students during school-day Masses.

The St. Columbkille security program in Papillion will use ununiformed volunteers who are affiliated with the parish, including parents of children in the K-8 school.

Principal Brandi Redburn says the nearby school building is secure, but officials wanted to step up security for Masses in the church. Redburn and other parish officials say school and other shootings across the nation show potential threats must be addressed.

An Omaha Archdiocese official says he knows of no other schools or parishes considering such a program. Deacon Tim McNeil is chancellor of the archdiocese, and he says Archbishop George Lucas let the school make its own decision. McNeil says Catholic social teaching allows for “proportional self-defense.”

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