By month’s end, one Florida charter school will employ armed guards on grounds to protect the students and staff.
Two combat veterans dressed in protective gear, each packing a 9mm Glock handgun and a semiautomatic Keltec RDB bullpup rifle with a 17-inch barrel, will patrol the Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Fla., the New York Times reported.
A Florida school has hired 2 former combat veterans to patrol its campus armed with semiautomatic rifles https://t.co/vLhM9Xq8pa
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 11, 2019
The school’s principal, Dr. Bill Jones, said, “If an armed intruder were to enter the campus, we’re not looking for a fair fight. We’re looking at an overwhelming advantage.”
He added, “I don’t want this to be the first time they’ve had someone shooting at them. It’s just a much more effective weapon than the handgun is.”
Jones said the choice to use combat veterans was based on employing guards that “would not hesitate to use their weapon in the case of a shooting,” The Hill reported.
The veterans will carry a rifle like the one below:
Manatee School for the Arts will be placing a security shed at the entrance of the grounds, and increase their fence boundaries by 24 inches, making it more difficult to enter the grounds.
Schools across the country — especially in Florida — have taken security measures to keep students safe since the Parkland school shooting that killed 17 just one year ago.
Since the Parkland mass shooting, a law was passed to ensure that every school in the state of Florida has at least one “safe-school officer.”
The armed guards that will patrol at the Manatee School for the Arts were trained by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department.
The school has 2,100 middle and high school students enrolled. So far, it is the only school in the county that has opted to employ armed guards.
Many were surprised by the school’s choice of using long guns, especially Michael Dorn, the executive director of Safe Havens International, a company that assesses Florida’s public school’s security systems.
Regarding the new policy at the school, Dorn said, “It’s not something that we typically advise our clients to do for a variety of reasons.”
Following the Parkland shooting, Florida passed a bill called the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. It was signed on Mar. 5, 2018 by Gov. Rick Scott.
The purpose of the bill was to tighten gun control, school security, and school safety, according to ACLU Florida.
It gave schools the choice to employ their choice of “a school resource officer, a school safety officer or a school guardian, an employee of the school trained to thwart attacks,” the Hill stated.
Michael Barber, a spokesman for the School District of Manatee County said, “We have guardians in almost all of our elementary schools, and in most of our charter schools.”